Roma loanee Smalling open to permanent Serie A switch

By Sports Desk September 06, 2019

Chris Smalling can foresee a long-term future for himself in Serie A if his loan at Roma from Manchester United goes to plan.

The 29-year-old defender swapped Old Trafford for Stadio Olimpico in search of playing time after falling out of the first-team picture at United.

Harry Maguire's arrival sent centre-back Smalling further down the pecking order and his hopes of returning to favour appear limited for as long as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains in charge.

Roma offered a way out and the 31-cap England international jumped to seize what could become more than a temporary lifeline.

"I think this is an opportunity that came to me that I was very interested in, and I was very eager to come," Smalling said.

"It happened very quickly. I am very focused on the next game, getting up to speed with training and learning the manager's methods. And then hopefully I want have a very good season. After that, we will see.

"To have a chance at a big club, if it goes well and the club is happy and I am happy, then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy."

Smalling is "looking forward" to testing his defensive qualities in Serie A and will have an important part to play in the Europa League, for which his parent club have also qualified.

The former Fulham man says winning the competition with Roma would be more special than it was with United in 2017.

"I think this club definitely has a chance," he said.

"We will be one of the favourites in the competition. Obviously, there are a few other clubs too, but Roma will be among the favourites.

"It has been great to have won it previously, but it would be even greater to win it here in Italy."

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