those big games to be honest and in one sense it’s good to get them out of the way.”
Smalling hopes to be fully involved at the start of the campaign after enjoying an injury-free pre-season.
“It makes such a difference when you get a proper pre-season under your belt," he added. "Last season was very frustrating with injuries. When you don’t get a full pre-season it means you’re catching up a little bit. I feel good this season and the more the games I play the sharper I feel.
"It was good to get on at Wembley. I managed to play 90 minutes on the Friday [in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial] and played nearly another full game on Sunday. It’s just good to be out there and playing.
“In terms of targets for the season, I just want to be involved in as many games as I can. Centre-back is where I want to play, but my aim is to get some good training done and stay injury-free.”