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‘Gutted’ Smalling returns to Manchester United

Chris Smalling, AS Roma, Manchester United
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A ‘gutted’ Chris Smalling has bid AS Roma a fond farewell as he returns to Manchester United now that his loan deal has ended.

After falling out of favor upon Harry Maguire’s world-record arrival last summer, Smalling ended a decade-long stay at United for a season-long loan move to Roma.

It was the 30-year-old Englishman’s first time outside his homeland, and he relished the experience, becoming a key member of the Roma line-up in the process.

Smalling ended up making 37 appearances in all competitions, including 30 in the Serie A. His three and two assists helped Roma finish a respectable fifth.

In fact, Giallorossi boss Paulo Fonseca confessed back in February that he would like to keep Smalling beyond this season.

However, United didn’t grant Smalling permission to extend his loan for Roma’s Europa League campaign. Therefore, the Italian club must face Sevilla in the last-16 without him.

Following the end of his loan agreement, Smalling wrote a farewell message to the Roma fans on Twitter: “I’m gutted that I can’t finish what we started this season.

“To experience the love shown to me in such a short time was extra special and it will not be forgotten.

“I want to thank and wish all the players and staff the best of luck against Sevilla. DAJE ROMA!”

Although Fonseca’s side can still pursue a permanent deal for Smalling this summer should they see fit.