Didi Hamann and Fjortoft rave about Chris Smalling on Twitter

The defender was the subject of heavy praise after United's 3-1 win over Club Brugge on Tuesday night.

The image above isn't necessarily one Chris Smalling has become associated with.

The 25-year-old was the subject of ridicule last season - much like the rest of the Manchester United defence - and even listening to his post-match interviews wouldn't exactly strike fear into a striker.

But just look at him above, brushing off a Club Brugge player with absolute ease.

Indeed, the Manchester United centre-back is improving with every game and many pundits haven't failed to notice. Dietmar Hamann is one - and the German believes United's season will go a lot smoother if the 'serious defender' stays injury free all campaign.

Meanwhile, retired footballer and current journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft also took to Twitter to praise the 25-year-old defender.

Of the qualities displayed by Smalling during Manchester United's Champions League play-off first leg, Fjortoft singled out his off-the-ball communication skills.

Next up for Louis van Gaal's Manchester United side are Newcastle United in the Premier League - a game United have a very good chance of winning considering their 100 per cent competitive record so far this season. Even if Van Gaal's men aren't their best, Newcastle's form suggests a comfortable victory could be on the cards...

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