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Man Utd boss Ferguson surprised by speed of Smalling progress

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is delighted with the rapid progress of Chris Smalling.

Smalling, a £12 million signing from Fulham, has impressed Ferguson with his progress on the training pitch since arriving at Old Trafford this summer and the 20 year-old earned plaudits for his assured performance on his full debut for the club against Rangers last week.

Ferguson has made no secret of his view that Smalling can develop into a long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand, but the pace of the youngster's development has surprised the United manager.

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