Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has said that he enjoyed being the senior figure in the team's backline in the recent victory over Arsenal.
The Red Devils went through a big overhaul during the summer and the defence has subsequently been a point of issue throughout Louis van Gaal’s short reign as United boss.
Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all departed Old Trafford in the summer, while defender Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo joined along with the versatile Danny Blind.
Yet, as a result of an unfortunate injury crisis, goalkeeper David de Gea has seen the United defence in front of him change on a weekly basis.
Rookies Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have found first-team opportunities more regularly this season, and the duo formed a three-man defence alongside Smalling in the victory over the Gunners in the Premier League last weekend.
Smalling, 25, had the extra responsibilities of being the experienced figurehead at the back at the Emirates Stadium, and it is a role he admits to thoroughly enjoying.
“I enjoyed that [being the senior defender]. It was obviously a very young back four but I’m very loud and talk quite a lot which was important in that game because of the young lads around me,” he told MUTV.
“We were lucky not to have come off at half-time having lost a couple of goals, but we regrouped and stuck to what we’d trained at and got better as the match went on.”
Smalling signed for the Red Devils from Fulham in January 2010 and has gone on to represent the club 124 times in all competitions.
This season, he has featured sparingly due to ongoing injury problems, with his only other Premier League appearance coming in the 1-0 defeat at rivals Manchester City, a game in which he was sent off for two yellow-card offences.