Date:31st October 2019 at 7:47pm
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Manchester United defender Chris Smalling hints at summer return to England despite being on loan at AS Roma, when speaking the Athletic

Smalling made a somewhat surprising move to Roma on loan near the end of the summer transfer window, despite being widely thought as the strongest defender behind new addition Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Many United fans at the time, felt it should have been Marcos Rojo or Phil Jones who moved away from the club, but it was ex-Fulham centre back Smalling who made the bold move to play his football in Italy.

The arrival of Harry Maguire is thought to be one of the key reasons Smalling went out on loan.

The 29-year-old has made a fantastic start to life in the Italian capital, playing seven games, currently unbeaten and bagging his first goal for the club against Udinese last night.

However, there were some rumours Roma are looking to sign Smalling on a permanent deal, but when speaking to the Athletic, Smalling stated the opposite, when discussing his lack of involvement with the national team.

He said: “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.”

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