Chris Smalling talks about his decision to leave Manchester United for Roma and the Italian Serie A experience.
There was the talk of Matteo Darmian, Marcus Rojo, even Phil Jones, and Eric Bailly all leaving Manchester United.
But when Chris Smalling’s name popped up as an official deal as the transfer deadline approached, many were surprised. Smalling moved to Roma on a one-year loan deal.
Of the aforementioned list, only Darmian departed.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph, Smalling talks of how easy the decision to move was.
Smalling was one of the most senior players in the United squad, and at 29, was coming off the back of a season where he has featured heavily.
“The easy decision was to stay.”
“I had spoken to the manager before Harry came and I knew I was behind him and Vic [Lindelof].”
“But in previous seasons I had started behind [two first-choice centre-backs] and after four or five games I had worked myself into the team.”
“I love a challenge and when a new centre-back comes in it makes you raise your game. You have to show more, you have to be more consistent.”
“If I had stayed I would have taken on that challenge and I would have been very confident that I would have played the number of games that I was worthy of.”
“He [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] said I would get games.”
“I am used to playing when I am fit. Although that might have been slightly different this season, I would have had the cup games and then in the league, depending on injuries.”
“Would it have been the 40-50 games that I am used to if fit? It might have been the 20-30. Still a good number of games but I want to play.”
Regardless he feels Roma is a challenge and does not rule out returning to Old Trafford to fight for his place.
“Equally I have a challenge here at Roma.”
“Going back [at the end of the season] I will have an added element that some of the centre-backs won’t have.”
Manchester – the club, the people, the city, has always held a special place in my heart but I still have as much desire to play regular first team football as I did when I joined the club over 9 years ago.
AS Roma is a fantastic club, with a lot of history… pic.twitter.com/jajbsJ79M1
— Chris Smalling (@ChrisSmalling) August 30, 2019