Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is enjoying ‘bullying’ opposing forwards and says he is comfortable playing alongside centre-back partner Daley Blind.
Smalling and the shorter Blind have started all of United's games this season and the team are one of only three in the Premier League who are yet to concede a goal so far.
"I have always liked that competition with the striker and obviously Daley is not that sort of centre-back who is going to dominate, so it's a case of I take that mantle on and I am enjoying it," the 25-year-old Smalling was quoted as saying by the British media.
"I feel like I bullied quite a few players in matches in the past but hopefully I can get the consistency where it can be on show every week now.
"It's comfortable playing next to Daley. Sometimes if there is a big opponent we will swap around. But he can handle himself as well so I am enjoying playing alongside him," the England international added.
Smalling's team mate Adnan Januzaj is also revelling in a newfound toughness after spending extra hours in the gym.
The Manchester United midfielder, who failed to score in 22 appearances for the Red Devils last season, struck the winner in the club's 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Aug. 14.
However the Belgian failed to make a meaningful impact as United were held to a goalless draw against Newcastle United on Saturday, and was taken off after 66 minutes.
"I'm working hard on the pitch and off the pitch as well as in the gym to work on my body. I have always been more of a technical player, trying to find spaces to create something with the ball," the 20-year-old told the club's website.
"But working hard in the gym gives you the plus of being stronger and more able to push people off the ball.
"I have started to get back to my fitness but I still need more rhythm to become even better," he said.
Barca appeal against Suarez, Rakitic, Vermaelen cautions
Champions Barcelona have appealed against the yellow cards shown to Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Thomas Vermaelen in their opening La Liga match of the season, a 1-0 victory at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
"The club considers the reasons outlined in the referee’s report inadmissible and has therefore appealed to the competition committee," Barca said on their website on Tuesday.
According to the report filed by referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande, Suarez and Rakitic were booked for catching an opponent with an arm while Vermaelen was cautioned for tripping one of the Bilbao players.
Barca's next outing is their first home league game of the campaign against Malaga on Saturday.
Coach Luis Enrique looks likely to have Neymar available after he returned to training earlier than expected on Monday.
The Brazil forward has been suffering from mumps, depriving Barca of one-third of their lethal attack that includes fellow South Americans Suarez and Lionel Messi.
The trio scored a Spanish record 122 goals in all competitions last term as Barca swept to a treble of Champions League, La Liga and King's Cup titles.
Suspended Suarez, Cavani out of Uruguay tour squad
Suspended strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were missing from the 23-man Uruguay squad announced by the Uruguayan FA to prepare for 2018 World Cup qualifiers in October.
Both are eligible for friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica next month but coach Oscar Tabarez has picked players available for the South American qualifiers starting on October 5.
Suarez, who has served five matches of a nine-match FIFA ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, can only return for Uruguay’s fifth qualifier away to Brazil next March.
Cavani, controversially banned for two matches for hitting out at Chile’s Gonzalo Jara after the defender poked him in the backside during a Copa America match in June, will be available for their third qualifier away to Ecuador on November 9.
Uruguay open their 18-match qualifying campaign in the 10-team South American group away to Bolivia on October 5 in La Paz and host Colombia in Montevideo on October 13.
The tour dates are September 4 in Panama City and September 8 in San Jose.
Dutchman Van Marwijk to coach Saudi Arabia
Former Netherlands coach Bert Van Marwijk will lead Saudi Arabia for one year after being appointed as their manager on Tuesday.
Van Marwijk will arrive in Jeddah on Sunday and his deal will start from Sept. 1, the Saudi Football Association said on Twitter.
Van Marwijk succeeded Saudi coach Faisal al-Badin who took charge of the ArabGulf nation's team in February.
Van Marwijk led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final, where they lost 1-0 to Spain. He has also managed clubs in the Dutch top flight and the German Bundesliga.
The 63-year-old left the Dutch national job after his team lost all three games at Euro 2012 and he was sacked by Hamburg in 2014 after 143 days in charge.