Chris Smalling admits he is facing an ‘interesting decision’ about his future after feeling the ‘love’ during a season-long loan spell at Roma.
The Manchester United defender headed to Italian football last summer after being deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, with the 30-year-old having enjoyed a career renaissance in Rome with a series of impressive performances for the capital club.
Smalling admits the change of scenery has been a welcome experience following a frustrating period in the Premier League, and says he will have an interesting decision to make on whether to continue his Serie A experience beyond the end of the season.
“When I first came it was exciting but also daunting because you’re not sure what to expect,” Smalling told Sky Sports.
“New country, new experience. But considering the way I’ve settled in, the love that I have felt, especially from the fans but everyone in Rome, it will be an interesting decision to make.
“Some of the other players said if you really hit the ground running, the love that you can have in this city is unbelievable. That’s really what I’ve felt and so have my family. Long may it continue.”
As things stand, Smalling is set to return to Manchester at the end of the season following the expiry of his loan, though the defender admits he was unsurprised by the club’s decision not to include a recall clause in the deal that took him to Italy.
“Not really,” he said. “Even when I spoke to them, it was a case of ‘let’s have a good season, hopefully it all goes to plan, the team is successful and I am successful’ and at the end of the season we’ll sit down.
“That was the plan at the start of the season and obviously we’re not finished yet so come the end of the season we’ll see what the plan is.
“I spoke to [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer]… Over the previous years, I had been used to playing in nearly every game when fit.
“So to cut that in half, when you look around at other opportunities, there was nothing better than [Roma] that could have come up.
“We spoke openly and we made it happen.”
Aside from Roma, Smalling has been linked with Arsenal, Spurs and Everton.