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22nd Mar 2015

Don’t be backwards about coming forwards – Smalling speaks out

Matt Stanger

Manchester United and England defender Chris Smalling has decided to speak out about an affliction that is threatening to ruin his promising football career before he has a chance to become particularly good at it.

Smalling suffers from an acute anxiety of leaving his own half of the pitch and as such struggles to carry out simple tasks such as placing one foot in front of the other in a running motion or passing to a teammate.

“Obviously it’s making my life a living hell but obviously I’m hoping that raising awareness of the condition will obviously help,” said the 25-year old defender who seems to think everything he says is self-evident.

“Obviously I’m fine until I cross the half-way line and then I obviously fall to pieces and lose all ability to play football. I panic and obviously don’t know what to do once I’m anywhere near the opposition goal.”

Smalling’s condition was particularly clear during the game against Tottenham Hotspur when an otherwise commanding performance was blighted by repetitive brainfarts beyond the midfield area.

Symptoms include a nosebleed when running into central areas, temporary colour-blindness when attempting to identify a teammate and a loss of limb control that makes the sufferer resemble a daddy longlegs.

Manchester United will be perturbed by signs that the condition may be contagious. Phil Jones often resembles a drunken mule when marauding forward whilst Jonny Evans’ condition has spread to the entire pitch.

Smalling for his part hopes that his brave admission will allow fellow pros to come to terms with what’s been dubbed Bramble Syndrome.

“I hope it helps others in my position. As long as they don’t replace me, obviously.”

Don’t be backwards in coming forwards