With defending as a whole considered a lost art by many; especially in the Premier League, the following players stand out amongst their peers. Leave your opinion by voting in the poll at the end of the article to choose your favourite in this first batch of five for the best centre-backs in England’s top flight this season.
There has not been a great deal to shout about around Old Trafford this season, but the performances of Chris Smalling have been something of a shining light. He was solid enough last term too but appears to have grown significantly as a player and a man in the last 12 months, picking up the mantle of leader from the back and often taking on the responsibility of the captain’s armband when more senior figures were unavailable.
Manchester United; despite their failings in an offensive sense, have been solid at the back and indeed have secured the greatest number of clean sheets in the division, with that number standing at 15 at the time of writing. While others around him have succumbed to injury and questionable form throughout the season, Smalling has been something of a mainstay and generally, his partnership at the heart of the defence with Daley Blind has been a fruitful one.
Louis Van Gaal’s trust in Chris Smalling seems to have dramatically increased over the course of the campaign and you imagine that whoever the Dutchman’s eventual successor proves to be, the former non-league centre-half will be an integral member of the squad. Injury permitting, Smalling’s performances over the last few months have surely secured not only his seat on the plane to Euro 2016 but a starting berth in Roy’s eleven too.