Chris Smalling has joined Roma on a season-long loan from Manchester United (Picture: EPA)

Chris Smalling has completed his move from Manchester United to Roma on a season-long loan deal and described it as the ‘perfect opportunity’ for him.

The 29-year-old has slipped down the pecking order at Manchester United this season, failing to make a matchday squad in any of the club’s first three Premier League fixtures.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have cemented their positions as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-choice defensive pairing, while Axel Tuanzebe appears to be the third option.

Smalling only signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the club in December a matter of days before Solskjaer’s appointment but he has been allowed to move on.

Talking about the move, Smalling said: ‘This is the perfect opportunity for me.

‘The chance to experience a new league, with a big team that has got big aspirations is exactly what I needed.

‘Hopefully I can hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to joining up with my teammates.’

Roma have reportedly paid a £2.7m loan fee for Smalling’s services but there is no option or obligation to buy him at the end of the season. He will wear the No.6 shirt in the Italian capital.

Smalling was left out of all three of Manchester United’s Premier League matchday squads (Picture: Getty)

Explaining the decision to let Smalling go on Friday, Solskjaer said: ‘At the moment we’ve got six centre-backs

‘This is just something that popped up towards the end [of the European transfer window] in the last couple of days.

‘Chris fancied the chance to go over there; it’s a new experience, new adventure.

‘He’ll come back better for it because it’s a big club, it’s a good league. There aren’t too many English players who have been playing in Italy so I think he’ll enjoy it.’

Smalling is currently United’s longest-serving player having joined in a £10m deal from Fulham in 2010. Since then he has amassed 323 appearances scoring 18 times.

Smalling is the third United player to move to Italy this summer, following Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez who both joined Inter Milan.


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