Smalling expecting to leave Roma

AS Roma
Roma loan defender Chris Smalling is in demand.

Roma defender Chris Smalling has claimed he expects to be playing at Manchester United once his loan move ends.

The England international joined Roma at the end of August after dropping down the pecking order at Old Trafford. Roma paid €3million to bring him to the Italian capital as they looked for experience at the back.

Smalling has made a big impact during his short spell in Rome, making six appearances so far out of a possible 10.

He has formed a solid partnership with Federico Fazio in recent weeks, and he helped Roma keep a clean sheet during their 4-0 win over Udinese. Smalling even got himself on the scoresheet, but his long-term plans are still focused around United.

He told the Athletic: “I won’t close the door on England until I’ve hung up my boots, but the chances seem slim under Southgate regardless of how well I’ve done at United or here.

“That’s the manager’s choice, but I hope that situation changes. Maybe he’ll look at me in a different light playing well in Italy where they know a thing or two about defending.

“I think I’ll be a better player when I go back to Manchester next May.”

Paulo Fonseca’s men are next in action against Napoli on Saturday and Smalling will be hoping another good performance will catch the eye of United chief Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof currently occupy the starting spots at United, but Smalling fancies his chances of winning back his place.