Smalling is tipped as a future captain, and spoke of his admiration for the defensive leaders he grew up watching.
"It was the leadership of Tony Adams I looked up to," he told the Daily Mail. "Watching TV, you can't always see how much a defender talks, but even on TV you could sense that he was a real leader.
"Of course, Rio [Ferdinand] and [Nemanja] Vidic are the guys I learn from as a defender now.
"They really are among the world's best, and training with them each day is a real positive. I'm making sure I make full use of it for as long as I can."