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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says Chris Smalling will be future captain

 Louis van Gaal and Chris Smalling have a giggle in California
Image: Louis van Gaal says Chris Smalling will be a future Manchester United captain

Louis van Gaal believes Chris Smalling will one day captain Manchester United.

The United manager branded Smalling "stupid" last year for his performance in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium when he was dismissed for two bookable offences.

But the England international has impressed this season and goes into this weekend's Super Sunday showdown with City at Old Trafford as an ever-present in United's back four this campaign.

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Van Gaal was pleased with his United side's performance as they beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park last weekend

Van Gaal handed Smalling a new four-year contract in April and has tipped him to take the captain's armband once Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick retire.

"Wayne Rooney is the captain and so you don't have to worry and then [vice-captain] Michael Carrick, but when they are gone, then Chris Smalling can do that, so I push him also in that situation," he said.

Manchester United's Chris Smalling celebrates
Image: Centre-back Smalling has improved markedly this season

Part of the defender's improvement, according to his manager, is the fact he has become more vocal on the field of play.

The 25-year-old played a key part in United's victories over Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham in the spring and Van Gaal has been impressed by what he has seen from Smalling this season.

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"He has done it by himself," he added. "There is a lot of advice. It is about how we defend as a team. He is a part of that and I wanted him to speak.

"He also has the talent to speak. That makes him easy to coach. Because of that, I made him a leader of the team.

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"He has made steps and also in a tactical way. When you give instruction in terms of organisation, you need someone to understand that.

"David de Gea has the best view and then the central defenders, so I demand of my defenders that they speak."

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