Chris Smalling has revealed that he hopes to stay in Serie A beyond this season after joining Roma on loan from Manchester United.
The defender moved to Italy late in the European transfer window, with the arrival of Harry Maguire at United pushing him down the pecking order.
Smalling’s loan does not include an option to buy, having been arranged at the last-minute, but at a press conference today, the England international opened the door to making his Man Utd exit permanent – just as one of the agents who organised the transfer suggested recently.
“I think this is an opportunity that came to me that I was very interested in, and I was very eager to come,” explained Smalling. “It happened very quickly.
“I am very focused on the next game, getting up to speed with training and learning the manager’s methods. And then hopefully I want to have a very good season.
“After that we will see. To have a chance at a big club, if it prolongs and the club is happy and I am happy, then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy.
“I am not a young player who has to prove himself – but I like new challenges. I had a great time in Manchester, but the opportunity to experience a new league and with a new club like Roma…
“I don’t like to live my life with my regrets, and this was a big opportunity. At Manchester we had high expectations, but here in Rome there are high expectations too. And that’s not easy, but it’s also a great challenge.
“It’s motivating, and now I have the chance to prove that the club was right to put their faith in me.”
Smalling could come up against his parent club in the Europa League this season, should both clubs qualify from the group stages, and the defender claims that winning the competition with Roma would eclipse doing so with United in 2017.
“I think this club definitely has a chance. We will be one of the favourites in the competition, obviously there are a few other clubs too, but Roma will be among the favourites.
“It has been great to have won it previously, but it would be even greater to win it here in Italy.”
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