The Tighter The Better - Kit Talk With Chris Smalling

Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling is the third player to discuss shirts, boots, shinpads and his personal matchday preferences in Manchester United's 'Kit Talk' interview series after Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera already revealed several interesting secrets of their boots, jerseys and other gear.

Kit Talk: Chris Smalling

Here is the full Kit Talk interview of Chris Smalling.

Why do you wear things a certain way, such as long sleeves?
I prefer to wear a long base-layer underneath my kit in pretty much all weathers. In pre-season, if it's too hot, I probably won't but, in general, I like to wear that. It's just something that makes me feel comfortable. I prefer longer sleeves. I wouldn't really tuck in my shirt, it would feel a bit restricted. I like to keep that loose. The layer underneath my kit makes me feel really comfortable, though.

Do you have any pre-match routines or superstitions?
I don't have many routines, although I always put my left sock and left shinpad on first - I put my shinpads on after my warm-up. In terms of superstitions, I'm not really a superstitious guy. Otherwise, you can drive yourself crazy if you have too many.

Have you ever done anything out of the ordinary and had a good result and thought 'I might do that again'?
Not really, I don't think so. I think a few other players have that but, as I say, it can drive you crazy if you've got to remember to do something every time. I'm not into that.

Do you ever change your shirt or other parts of your kit at half-time?
Yes. I will take my base-layer off, as well as my top, and get new ones of those. I keep my shorts and socks on and redo my laces just so they're extra tight for the second half.

Some players prefer to wear snug-fitting boots. Is that the case for you?
I do, I have them particularly tight. I had them personalised, actually. My brand of boots are generally quite a wide fit and I've got narrow feet so they brought them in for me a little bit. They are very tight but I don't like my feet moving inside the boots so it's the tighter the better for me.

So did they send in someone to measure your feet specially?
Yes, they came to the training ground and took mould fittings of my feet. They saved those measurements and use them each time they bring out a new boot. It's nice and easy and we're very lucky to have that service.

Do you have multiple pairs of boots or just the one pair?
I've got quite a few. I have a moulded pair that I tend to wear mostly in training if it's not too wet. Then I half-moulded and half-studded for all weather really that I wear most of the time. I also have an all-studded version as well but, more often than not, especially in games, I tend to wear the mix of moulds and studs. They tend to tick all the boxes, no matter what the conditions.

Do you have a new kit for every game or do you wear the same shirt sometimes?
I don't think it's a new one every time. Some players take their shirts after every game so I imagine someone like Daley [Blind], who takes his shirt home after every game, would get a new one each time. I only tend to take them home after a memorable moment – if I've scored or something has happened in the game, maybe a big result like a win against Liverpool or something. I take the shirt home then but, more often than not, I give it back. The laundry staff wash it and you wear it again.

Is there a rule about not swapping shirts with your opponents?
Not really, we've never been told you can't swap your shirt at the end of the game. If I know someone on the other team, they might come up and ask me to swap. You can do it if you want.

Have you kept any special shirts over the years?
I've not got any framed yet but I've kept a few. Some from the derbies – my very first derby when Wazza scored that unbelievable goal. I kept that one and I've got my England debut. I've got a few other shirts myself. I've got Neymar's at home after a friendly at Wembley. So I've got a few. One day, I'll make a nice wall and frame them but I'm just collecting them on hangers in the wardrobe until I finish my career. Then I'll look at it that way and it'll be nice to get a little collection of shirts.

Do any of the players have personalised shinpads? I think our former players Wes Brown and John O'Shea had drawings from their children on theirs...
Yes, some of the players here have personalised ones with their kids' names or pictures of the family for example. It's a nice touch and something I might look into because they look very nice. But at the moment, I've just got my standard shinpads that I've had for a while.

Which is your favourite United shirt from your time at the club?
I think the white away one that we had last season. We wore it as an all-white kit [with white shorts and socks] sometimes and because I like white, I think it looked really smart.

Maybe it's because you've also played for Fulham and England…
It's true - maybe that stuck with me! I really liked that white shirt from last season with its little red features. It's one of my favourites and I've kept one of those shirts so I can remember it.

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