(Reuters) – Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is wary of the threat posed by Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy but is looking forward to the challenge of keeping the speed merchant in check on Saturday.
Vardy was a key component in Leicester’s title-winning campaign in 2015/16 and has scored seven goals in 18 league matches this season, along with a League Cup goal in the midweek defeat by Manchester City.
Smalling said United’s defenders would not be able to relax for a moment at the King Power Stadium.
“He is someone who is a bit of a nightmare for defenders because he is often ratting around and chasing with non-stop running.
“He runs in behind which, as a defender, is the hardest thing to deal with, but I will be looking forward to that battle and, hopefully, I’ll be ready to keep him quiet.”
United are looking for a third consecutive league win to keep in touch with leaders City but will face a Leicester side who have won four of their last five league games to climb to eighth.
“You know their qualities and their wingers – Demarai Gray is coming into the team and Riyad Mahrez is in form as well,” said Smalling.
“So those are the players we need to keep quiet and, when we get the ball, we need to make sure that we get at their backline.”
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)