Chris Smalling is confident of boarding the England plane to next summer’s World Cup in Brazil, as long as he can avoid any injuries and maintain his impressive form for Manchester United.
The Three Lions sealed qualification for Brazil 2014 as group winners via victories over Montenegro and Poland at Wembley last month. As a result, manager Roy Hodgson now turns his attention to the players who might travel to South America.
With seven caps to his name, and having played a key role in England’s qualification campaign, Smalling is almost certain to be named in the final squad. As the Reds defender explains, the opportunity to play at a World Cup is one he isn't taking lightly.
“I am hopeful if I can stay injury free and keep playing, getting as many games as I can,” Smalling told ManUtd.com. “Hopefully Roy Hodgson will be watching and I can be on that plane, and not only go over there in the squad but also make an impact on the tournament.
“England played Brazil in Rio over the summer and I was injured, but the lads who travelled said the atmosphere was electric. So to go over there and play for a few weeks, if not hopefully longer, would be such an achievement and a real joyous moment for me.”
As qualification is already secured, England will contest friendly matches against Chile and Germany on Friday and Tuesday, making this current international break a less pressurised experience for everyone involved.
“Last month was obviously extremely pressurised - the whole country was watching us, we had to win and thankfully we rose to the challenge. This month we face two good nations in Chile and Germany. There will be pressure on us to perform again but not to the extent of last month, though the fact that we are playing two good nations will make us raise our game."
Focusing solely on the Germany match, Smalling is excited by the prospect of playing in such a historic fixture and hopes the experience will match that of facing Brazil at Wembley last February.