A £7million summer arrival from Fulham, Smalling is content to adopt a patient approach, knowing there are so many games looming, opportunities are bound to come.
"When I came here I knew I would be competing with four or five world class central defenders," Smalling said.
"Including pre-season I have managed to play with all of them now.
"Hopefully I can link up with them all and build partnerships.
"This is going to be a busy period for us and I want to put my name in the frame."