Roy Hodgson heaped praise on young Chris Smalling after the centre back’s composed performance in Fulham’s FA Cup win over Swindon this afternoon.
Smalling showed real character to bounce back from his freakish own goal which decided the west London derby on Monday to turn in a fine display against the dangerous Billy Paynter as Fulham reached the fourth round thanks to a goal from Bobby Zamora. The Fulham manager was generous with his praise.
Chris Smalling did well for us again. The game suited him because they passed the ball well enough but it was only a matter of time before they hit the ball long to Paynter. Then get the ball off the knockdown so it was coming in the air, so it is the type of game that we expect him to do well at.
He and Aaron Hughes were pretty much fault-free throughout the match apart from on two occasions, once when he defended the wrong side and gave away a free-kick and the other when he over elaborated and lost possession but I suppose I’m being pretty harsh if I’d expect him to play a fault-free game.
Smalling was also praised by Swindon manager Danny Wilson.
He was excellent last week at Chelsea last week and he was fantastic today so they have a good player on their books here at Fulham. It was a big decision to bring him here from non-league football and I think Roy (Hodgson) has got it spot on.