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Chris Smalling gave a respectful interview to BBC London 94.9 this afternoon saying that he owes a great debt to Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and his staff, whom the young defender believes are the reason why he has earned a ‘dream’ switch to Manchester United at the end of the season.

Smalling, still only 20, was nursed through the step up to full-time training by Billy McKinlay and Hodgson when he joined Fulham from Maidstone United in the summer of 2008.

It’s all down to the coaches and how well Roy Hodgson and Billy McKinlay have brought me up over the years. I was only training a few times a week at Maidstone.

The England under-21 international’s undoubted potential convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to make his move despite Smalling only have made nine appearances in professional football.

To be mentioned with Manchester United and for Sir Alex Ferguson to take an interest in how I’ve been doing this season is a dream come true. I’m just going to go there, work hard and repay that faith they have shown in me.

Smalling insists his focus remains with Fulham up until the end of May, though.

I think it is very flattering, but now I’m trying to take it all in my stride and carry on from where I left off. Every time I step on the field I try my hardest and give 100% and hopefully I can carry that on when I join them.