Man of the match Chris Smalling targets Euro 2016 berth

Wednesday 09 Sep 2015
Chris Smalling helped England keep a sixth clean-sheet in qualifying

While it was a historic night at Wembley for Wayne Rooney, his Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling was awarded man of the match for a strong display in England's defence

The 25-year-old was making his 19th appearance for Roy Hodgson's men, and his assured performance alongside Gary Cahill helped the Three Lions produce a sixth shut-out from their eight consecutive wins in the European Qualifiers.

And Smalling is now targeting a regular place in England's back-four with France 2016 on the horizon.

England 2-0 Switzerland

UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Tuesday 8 September 2015

"As defenders, clean sheets are a great thing," Smalling told "We restricted them to only a few chances and overall defensively we were quite sound.

"I was happy to get that clean sheet. I think we were below our standards, especially in that first half, and in the second half we needed to pick it up a little bit. We did that.

"Gary is easy to play with, he’s an experienced guy and you know his game. Hopefully we can build on the partnership and restrict many more teams."

He continued: "My aim now is the Euros, to try and stay injury free, get a good run of games at my club, come back here next month and go again.

"I’m taking each game as it comes but hoping to put a good marker down each time."

Gary Cahill tussles with Josip Drmic

Smalling's defensive partner Gary Cahill tussles with Josip Drmic

Smalling was also delighted for skipper Rooney, who bagged a late penalty to clinch the win and take him above Sir Bobby Charlton to the top of the England scoring chart.

The former Fulham defender knows Rooney more than most and believes he will have a massive impact when the Three Lions arrive at Euro 2016.

He was also impressed by another goalscoring performance from the young pretender Harry Kane, who got England off the mark with his third strike in four appearances.

"I was over the moon for Wayne, and I don’t think you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to finish it if than at penalty at Wembley, in from of our fans," said Smalling.

"It was a great occasion for him and I’m so happy for him.

Rooney's dressing room speech


"Roy had the shirt with the 50 on when he came in the dressing room after – I think he knew it was coming tonight. Wayne gave a very good speech and you could tell he was really emotional because it is such a massive achievement.

He added: "It’s great to know he’s up there and if a chance falls to him he’s going to take it. He’s proven that over the years.

"Going into these high-profile friendlies we’ve got coming up, and into the tournament in the summer, we’ve got a man who is a really big-game player.

"Harry was terrific when he came on, too, and won a lot of his duels up there and we created a lot more chances. He was great up there.

"You can’t ask for much more than eight straight wins, but if we win ten out of ten that’s a new record as well. We’ll be going for that knowing it’s a new record to play for despite us cruising to the Euros."

Next up for the Three Lions is their final home Group E qualifier against Estonia on Friday 9 October. 

Tickets for the game at Wembley Stadium are available to buy online here.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor At Wembley Stadium