Smalling’s injury hell since €20m Man Utd move

Carlo Garganese
Smalling’s injury hell since €20m Man Utd move

Chris Smalling has suffered an injury nightmare since completing his €20 million move to Roma from Manchester United in October.

The centre-back spent the 2019-20 season on loan in the Italian capital and was a revelation for the Giallorossi.

The 31-year-old made 37 appearances in all competitions and proved to be one of the best defenders in the whole of Serie A.

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However, since making his transfer permanent for €15 million – rising to €20m after add-ons – Smalling has been plagued by physical problems.

Smalling’s injury problems

As well as missing a game due to food poisoning in November, he has been sidelined by four separate injuries this season.

A sprain in October kept him out for 20 days, inflammation of the knee stopped him for two weeks in November, while he missed the whole of February with a biceps femoris muscle injury.

And having just returned from that injury, he has now been sidelined again for at least 10 days.

Roma manager Paulo Fonseca confirmed that Smalling is out of Sunday’s big game against Napoli but says he won’t need a knee operation – as had been rumoured.

“Smalling will not need knee surgery, we have to deal with him day by day,” Fonseca stated.

“I cannot think about who is not available, even if they are important players. Hopefully, we’ll have them all back after the break for international duty.”

The match against Napoli will be the 20th of 39 games Smalling has missed this season. He has started just 11 Serie A matches in 2020/21.

There has been a lot of criticism of Man United’s centre-backs this campaign, with the consensus being that the club’s current options are not good enough.

Indeed, some fans believe that United made a mistake selling Smalling. However, his injury problems this season suggest that perhaps a €15-20m sale was not the worst piece of business by the Red Devils.