But with Ferdinand on his rest bed at home, Smalling was given another chance to impress and he took it with both hands. United put together a 3-0 win in Turkey and Smalling played his part in the game.
The Red Devils are now getting to be a hard side to beat, a far cry from their early season form, this is backed by the fact they have five clean sheets out of the last eight games.
It was the Red Devils' fifth clean sheet in eight games, a dramatic improvement on their early season problems.
Smalling has done his share to help out with things but he won’t see the limelight taken away from Ferdinand and Vidic.
"The likes of Rio and Vida have been brilliant," said Smalling.
"They help guide you through games and I am learning from them all the time.
"They deserve credit too. They have really helped me to settle in and my confidence is sky high at the moment."