Last updated : 23 August 2004 By editor

'Leeds United supporters will not appreciate the thought but how long before Alan Smith kisses the badge on his shirt? Smith might never be allowed to forget the day he declared Manchester United were the one club he "could never play for" but it was difficult to leave Old Trafford on Saturday without sensing the beginnings of a new romance.

It was not just the aesthetic quality of his goal that endeared him to the Old Trafford crowd but his indefatigable running, his tackling back and, drawing comparisons with Mark Hughes, the way he was always available to take the ball with his back to goal and spread the play.

Swapping one United for another will always be regarded in certain parts of Yorkshire as a traitorous act but there are signs already that Smith will be a vastly improved player in his new surroundings.

The comparisons with Hughes are inevitable, particularly after the sumptuous volley that gave Norwich a crash course in how brutal the Premiership can be. Hughes will always be regarded as one of the most gifted exponents of the mid-air shot but he was famed as much for his formidable aggression and ability to hold the ball.