Chris Smalling has revealed his desire to play in a foreign country was behind his decision to swap Manchester United for Roma.
The 30-year-old centre-back completed a season-long loan switch to the Italian capital club last summer and has been lauded for his performances in Serie A.
After almost a decade at Old Trafford, where he arrived at 2010 when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge, it has been a move that has broadened Smalling’s horizons. He revealed why he was soon keen to play abroad in an interview with The Times.
“Some English players have gone abroad but not many,” said Smalling.
“It was a challenge that I wanted to take. I’m someone who definitely lives by not having any regrets. I like new things maybe out of my comfort zone and show people that anything is possible.
“I obviously enjoy my football, I enjoy my life and I try to maximise all of that but seeing kids flourish and invest in people who have good ideas is where I get my main fulfilment.”
Smalling also expressed his views on football’s proposed return, having been locked down in Italy like everyone has been in the United Kingdom.
He admitted he sympathises with players such as Troy Deeney and Danny Rose who have voiced concerns.
“I can understand everyone’s position if they’ve not got that full clarity,” added the United defender.
“Everybody wants to be as informed as possible. Fortunately, here at Roma, I feel like they have that clarity. They’ve kept us in the loop. We had regular meetings with the CEO [Guido Fienga], talking about different measures, and keeping us up to date. That’s been very useful to know their discussions with the league and the doctors and they are relaying that straight back to us.
“That’s why I feel like a lot of players here are comfortable about coming back, knowing the different measures.”