Smalling has been out of action with a metatarsal problem, but is now back looking for action and the England boss is looking forward to doing some work with Smalling and watch him progress.
Not that Hodgson is a stranger to Smalling; he signed the player for Fulham in 2008 before United stepped in for him a couple of years later.
Hodgson told the Daily Mail: "I'm in a much better position when it comes to assessing players and knowing what I can get out of an England team than I was when I came into the job and straight off to the Euros.
"That was quite a conservative group we took there (Sweden). If anything, we have become a lot less conservative and I think the players have responded very positively.
"There's a lot of top-class talent coming back. There's a boy at Manchester United called Smalling, who I've always thought is going to be a top-class centre-half."
Source: United Mad