A Manchester United fan once claimed Chris Smalling was ‘better’ than Harry Maguire and despite it being controversial, many now believe he was telling the truth.
Maguire joined United from Leicester City £80 million on August 5 2019, which remains a record fee for a centre back.
Smalling was one of United’s starting defenders at the time and Maguire’s arrival signalled the end of his Old Trafford career.
He joined Roma on a season-long loan 25 days after Maguire walked through the door then sealed a permanent move to Italy a year later.
The 32-year-old spent over a decade at United and won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.
Smalling wasn’t a popular figure among supporters at time, but one man never turned his back on the former Fulham man.
Rick spoke to The United Stand after United edged past Rochdale in the Carabao Cup three months after the respective transfers and got a lot off his chest.
He vented: “Trust me, Chris Smalling has gone to Roma what did we get, £2 million for the year? Chris Smalling is better than Harry Maguire. I’m telling you for a fact. Listen, I hope I can get a copy of this because I want to come back. Chris Smalling’s played about 340 games for Man Utd under Fergie, he’s got two title medals.
“He was an automatic starter under [Louis] van Gaal. If you don’t think I like him, go and argue with van Gaal!”
After being told United were ‘s**t’ under van Gaal, Rick quickly snapped back: “The defence wasn’t s**t. In van Gaal’s first season, we had the joint-best defensive record in the league. For the money spent, it hasn’t improved.
“Whoever comes in next [after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer], this is why I want this recording, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka will be dropped and Harry Maguire will be dropped. I’m telling you!”
We’re nearly three years on from that conversation and how have things gone?
Well, Maguire was named United captain following the departure of Ashley Young in January 2020 but has struggled.
Last season was a disaster and the Red Devils finished sixth with their lowest-ever Premier League points tally.
What about Smalling over in Serie A?
Funny how quickly things can change. Supporters on social media have had their say and think it’s eerie how spot on the predictions were.
One person commented: “United should hire this guy to run their club.”
Another put: “It’s scary how well this video aged.”
A third tweeted: “We all laughed at him when he said this, now look at us, he was right all along.”
While someone said: “This man was cooking and spoke facts.”