Bastian Schweinsteiger couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a laugh at the expense of his Manchester United teammate Chris Smalling this week.
Days after United boss Louis van Gaal referred to Smalling as “Michael” in his post-match press conference following the 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow - the Dutch coach called the same player “Mike” during the pre-season tour of the USA in the summer - Schweinsteiger decided to impersonate his manager during a fan event organised by Chevrolet.
Schweinsteiger and Ashley Young were taking questions from supporters when the German midfielder spotted Smalling sitting in the front row. He points at the England international and says: “Oh look, it’s Michael!” (Scroll down to see the video).
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This raised a smile from the supporters inside the Old Trafford press conference room - Young can be heard cracking up, too - and it’s clear that poor Smalling is stuck with the “Mike” nickname forever.
This time last year, Smalling’s Manchester United career was in severe doubt following his red card against local rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
'Mike' Smalling: PL's best defender?
But over the past 12 months, the 25-year-old has been fully focused and it’s shown in his improved performances.
Some Manchester United fans now believe that Smalling is the best defender in the Premier League - and on current form it’s difficult to disagree.
Some supporters joke that Smalling enjoyed his upturn in fortunes after Van Gaal inadvertently changed his first name from Chris to “Mike”, but the former Fulham centre-back has been superb throughout 2015 and deserves all the plaudits that have come his way in recent months.
Video: Van Gaal's first Smalling gaffe
Video: Van Gaal's second Smalling gaffe
Manchester United fans: is Chris Smalling the best defender in the Premier League? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!
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