Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has explained why he left the club to join Italian side Roma.
Smalling fell down the pecking order at United as Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have emerged as the first choice partnership in the middle of the defence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which is partly due to Maguire and Lindelof both being enormously better at football than Smalling.
United had struggled for years in having to rely on Smalling and Phil Jones, neither of whom were capable of improving or being any real use to the team on the pitch, nevertheless, they were regularly awarded new and well-paid contracts to stay at the club, presumably because Ed Woodward wanted to sell them for decent money.
However, at the end of the summer transfer window Smalling was finally sent packing, and he has joined Roma until the end of the season, where there have been mixed reports on his progress in Serie A.
Speaking to the Athletic website, the former England defender explained his decision.
“I think that Italian football suits aggressive and quick defenders who read the game well. I want to be a nuisance to the strikers here, just as I did in England,” he said.
“I think I’ll be a better player when I go back to Manchester next May.
”I was in constant dialogue with Ole and he told me that I would play a fair amount of games.
”I would’ve played 20-25 games, maybe more, but then Roma made their offer. It was put to me and I felt I could play 40-50 games with Roma, maybe twice what I’d play at United.”
United are reportedly interested in bringing in another defender next summer, which should help ensure that Smalling does not feature for the first team at Old Trafford again.