Gary Cooper invaded the pitch during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over their fierce rivals on Sunday, running towards the defender before confronting him.
Cooper, who is related to former world heavyweight champion and United supporter Fury, claims that he went onto the pitch to celebrate Arsenal’s second goal, scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the penalty spot.
And in an interview with the Daily Mail, he admitted the situation, which was one of three high-profile pitch invasion incidents over the weekend, has left him feeling “ashamed”.
He said: “I am just so ashamed and have let myself and my family down. What happened was out of character. I am still in shock and feel awful.
“I want to apologise to Chris Smalling, Manchester United and to Arsenal. I got caught up in the emotion of the game and made a foolish mistake to run on to the pitch.
“I had no intention of approaching Chris Smalling. He happened to be there as I ran to congratulate the Arsenal players.”
Smalling’s United teammate Ashley Young, meanwhile, has called for greater protection for players after his team’s Premier League defeat at Arsenal was disrupted by Cooper.
The incident was one of several involving rogue fans over the weekend, with pitch invasions occurring in the Scottish Premiership, the English Championship (second-tier) as well as the Premier League.
A fan confronted Rangers captain James Tavernier in their 1-1 draw with Hibernian in Scotland on Friday, while Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was punched in the face by a fan during Sunday’s 1-0 win at derby rivals Birmingham City.
“That’s the third time a fan has managed to get on the pitch (this weekend),” Young told reporters. “What if they are carrying something? The players will be in danger.
“It’s definitely something the FA, the Premier League and FIFA have got to do something about. I don’t know if it’s extra stewarding or what but it’s a concern with the one earlier today and the one on Chrissy. Something has got to be done.”