Manchester United

Mourinho axes Smalling and tells him to find new club

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Jose Mourinho has instructed Manchester United chiefs to sell defender Chris Smalling, according to the Sun.

The newspaper claim that the United manager has decided in the last two weeks that the England centre-back is to be offloaded during this summer’s transfer window.

The Sun report that Mourinho is already eyeing replacements for Smalling, 27, who was brought to Old Trafford in 2010 by Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is said that the defender has failed to fulfil his potential despite accumulating 243 appearances for United and being a first-team mainstay under Mourinho last season and previous managers Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him.

The Portugese was publicly critical of Smalling last season, accusing him of being too cautious in his rehabilitation from what were a series of niggling injuries.

Smalling’s failure to play through the pain barrier at Swansea in November particularly annoyed the United boss, who also joked about his lack of ability at building attacks from the back.

Despite Mourinho’s misgivings, the 31-times England international still made 36 appearances in all competitions in 2016-17, amounting to 2,609 minutes of action.

He was in the centre of defence alongside Daley Blind as United ended last season on a high by lifting the Europa League and ensuring their qualification for the Champions League group stages next season.

The Sun report that Mourinho wants to sell Smalling over the next six weeks and replace him with a new defender, who can compete with a first-team place alongside new £30million signing Victor Lindelof.

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