Chris Smalling is happy he was able to get under the skin of Mario Balotelli and frustrate the Liverpool striker last weekend.
One of the defining photos of the game saw Smalling pointing towards Balotelli after a coming together on the touchline while he was being held back from Liverpool fans to stop him reacting.
It embodied Smalling’s dominant physical performance in the heart of defence and speaking about the game, the centre-back admitted he was hoping for a second bite at the apple during England’s game against Italy on Tuesday.
: “If you’re doing your job and not giving the striker much of a chance he’ll probably get angry and Balotelli is someone who can lose his temper very quickly,” Smalling said.
“I’m happy to see them get frustrated. I thought that it could be round two on Tuesday [against Italy] but I’ve seen that he’s not in the squad. We’ll have to wait for that.”
It’s been a superb recovery from Smalling after his red card away to Manchester City. As that was such a high profile incident, the spotlight on him was intense but to his credit he has turned his own fortunes around with his own performances.
Plus, frustrating any scouser and putting them in their place at Anfield is something that will endear any player to United’s fans.