Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been keeping a close eye on Chris Smalling’s performances on loan at Roma – and regularly checks in on the defender.
Smalling, 29, was shipped out to the Italians for the remainder of the season after Solskjaer deemed the centre-back surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
The former England international has quickly established himself in the starting line-up at Roma, making six successive starts to help them climb up to fourth in Serie A.
And, despite leaving United on a temporary basis, Smalling has remained in contact with the Red Devils players – and the boss.
“I still speak to all the players – I was there a long time, they’re my friends. Tough times there at the moment, but the manager drops me messages,” Smalling told The Athletic .
“He’s watching me, he saw I’ve been man of the match and congratulated me.
“I think that Italian football suits aggressive and quick defenders who read the game well. I want to be a nuisance to the strikers here, just as I did in England.”
Smalling also opened up on why he opted to make the surprise move abroad, with the defender remaining tight-lipped over whether he will return to United.
“I think I’ll be a better player when I go back to Manchester next May.
“I was in constant dialogue with Ole and he told me that I would play a fair amount of games.
“I would’ve played 20-25 games, maybe more, but then Roma made their offer. It was put to me and I felt I could play 40-50 games with Roma, maybe twice what I’d play at United.”