Manchester United move was out of the blue, admits Fulham defender Chris Smalling who dreams of the reaching the big time with England

Fulham defender Chris Smalling says he has been caught up in a whirlwind of excitement ever since he sealed his surprise summer switch to Manchester United and that he is now dreaming of making the England squad.

Smalling, 20, will start alongside West Ham's James Tomkins in defence for England Under 21 European Championship qualifier against Greece this evening at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium - 18 months on from earning £5-an hour as a waiter!

The young defender arrives at Old Trafford in July as part of a deal that was struck in January to secure his highly rated services, which could rise to £14million, but having spent the start of his career at non league Maidstone United, Smalling is still amazed.

Chris Smalling

Living the dream: Fulham starlet Chris Smalling has been in whirlwind of excitement since he agreed terms to sign for Manchester United this summer

'It has been a whirlwind and things are happening very quickly. It is very exciting.

'My move to United came out of the blue. I was just concentrating on doing well for Fulham and linking up with the Under-21s, then suddenly it came up and it is a fantastic opportunity for me.

Chris Smalling

Dreaming big: Smalling wants to play for England

'When you have one of the biggest clubs in the world even considering you will be good enough for them, it is a massive compliment.

'I think at times I'll be star-struck, but I'm not nervous. When I started to play for Fulham I got a few nerves, but I've played now and have started to get used to it.'

Smalling admits seeing the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Leighton Baines and Joe Hart called into the senior set-up has given the rest of the players added incentive tonight.

'It drives everyone on,' he added. '

The competition's very healthy and we all get on in training, and to see players like that step up gives us the chance to go out there in the big game that it is and hopefully everyone can step up.'


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