Ex-Red Anderson, who was capped 30 times in the position and was Fergie’s first United signing in 1986, has already seen enough evidence to suggest Smalling would cope with the challenge of playing at fullback.
“Going from Fulham to Manchester United so soon after being a non-League player is a big step,” Anderson told the Manchester Evening News. “A lot of players say they want to play for United and would relish the challenge but when you actually get there Old Trafford can wreck players.
“Some cannot handle the pressure, the expectation and the history. It can kill you.
“But Chris has made a pretty seamless transition into his role as a United senior player. I think one of the key moments came last year at West Ham in the Carling Cup.
“The Reds didn’t play well that night. They were hammered 4-0 and Chris didn’t have a good game. Things had been going well for him up to that moment but things like that can really damage you.
“That kind of experience can see some players fold and you’ll never see them again. He got flak for his role at Upton Park but he took it on the chin and proved it wasn’t going to affect him.
“He rose to the challenge and got better. That takes real character.”