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Man Utd defender hoping to play a big part for England at Euro 2016

Chris Smalling's Manchester United form makes the defender confident of playing a key part for England this summer.

The 26-year-old has been one of the bright spots in a topsy-turvy campaign at Old Trafford, providing serious competition to David de Gea for United's player of the year award.

Chris Smalling has been in good form this season. Credit: PA

The United defender has come a long way since his only previous major international tournament two years ago, when he only managed to feature in the World Cup dead-rubber against Costa Rica.

Smalling was forced to play the "passenger" role he wanted to avoid in Brazil, but believes the trip to France will be different.

"I have bigger expectations this time," Smalling said. "Very much so. Hopefully I will be coming off a full season and one where I felt I contributed.

"I feel I have put my name right at the forefront and after playing the last two England games I hope I can keep that shirt and carry on my good form into the summer.

"I fully expect to be a part of it if I can keep this up because club form will get you a starting place."

Man United defender Shaw returns to training

Luke Shaw is back. Credit: PA

Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw made his return to training on Monday for the first time since suffering a double fracture in his leg last September.

The 20-year-old England international was back out on the grass with a United physio as he enters the final stages of a long rehabilitation period from an injury he sustained in a Champions League tie with PSV in Eindhoven.

Shaw's appearance at training was confirmed by United team-mate Juan Mata, who uploaded a picture of the pair on Instagram with the caption: "My friend @lukeshaw23 just came in from running out on the pitch! Getting closer"

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Man Utd v Everton line-ups

Man Utd boss Van Gaal wary of 'strange' Everton

Louis van Gaal. Credit: PA

Louis van Gaal knows it will be tough for Manchester United to boost their top-four hopes against a "strange" Everton side.

The Red Devils started the weekend just a point behind rivals Manchester City, having won the derby meeting between the sides at the Etihad Stadium just before the international break.

It was a timely boost that United will look to build on this Sunday, although Everton's own peculiar season means Roberto Martinez's men are likely to prove tougher opponents at Old Trafford than they did at Goodison Park.

United eased to a 3-0 victory in October's reverse fixture, but Martinez's team are better on the road and have won 22 points on their travels compared to 16 at home.

"I said I think after that game we were 90 minutes we were controlling the game and I think you have to do that," Van Gaal said of the win at Goodison Park.

"We scored out of the chances, we could have scored more. Everton I think is a very good team, very good individual players - they only created five chances in the game.

"I think it was an example of how you have to play away, but now we play at home and maybe you have seen the record of Everton and how strange it is. It is at home not so good as away.

"When you also see the history of the last matches against Everton - not my history but the history of the club - it is not so good.

"So it is for a club like Manchester United a very difficult opponent, but I hope my record shall continue."

Man United defender out for remainder of the season

Luke Shaw's Euro 2016 dreams appear to be over after Louis van Gaal admitted the Manchester United left-back is unlikely to play again this season.

Luke Shaw will not play again this season. Credit: PA

An exceptional start to his second campaign at Old Trafford was cruelly halted by a horrific double leg break in September's Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven.

Shaw underwent two operations following Hector Moreno's challenge and has made impressive progress in his rehabilitation, with the 20-year-old set to train outside for the first time on Monday.

The defender will start off doing individual work before joining up with the first-team - rehabilitation Van Gaal says is "going great" albeit not quick enough to make the FA Cup final should United make the May 21 showpiece.

United boss Van Gaal said:

Luke Shaw shall start next week the first training sessions on the pitch. It was always in the gym, on the treadmill, in the swimming pool and so on, but now he can train for the first time with his bodyweight on the pitch, so it is going great for Luke Shaw. But also...it shall be very difficult for him to play the final of the FA Cup.

– Man United manager Louis van Gaal
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