Chris Smalling Returns to United, Future Still Uncertain

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AS Roma made a request for a short term extension on their loan deal for Chris Smalling, but Manchester United have denied it. The central defender now returns to United and he won’t be able to feature for Roma in their remaining Europa League contests.

Smalling has revejuvenated his career in the eternal city, and he’s absolutely gutted that he has to leave. He was a great fit, and his career was back on the upswing.

“I’m gutted that I can’t finish what we started this season,” Smalling tweeted. “To experience the love shown to me in such a short time was extra special and it will not be forgotten.”

“I want to thank and wish all the players and staff the best of luck against Sevilla.”

What comes next remains to be seen, but United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was very pleased with the performance of the 29-year-old this season. Perhaps that means a place for the English international in the team again.

“I think Chris has shown over his career how valuable he is at Manchester United,” Solskjaer said at his news conference today.

“This season was about him being regular and going to Roma and showing how good a centre back he is, I wanted to give Harry (Maguire), Vic (Lindelof) and maybe Axel (Tuanzebe) a chance.”

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“It was best for him to go and play for a year at Roma and he has shown he will be valuable. I’ve been speaking to Chris throughout. I’ve been delighted with his season.”

The future of Smalling remains uncertain, but it is thought that Marcos Rojo, Jesse Lingard and perhaps even Phil Jones could be on the way out this summer. United and Inter Milan are currently working on finalizing a deal that would convert Alexis Sanchez’ loan move until a permanent one.

Manchester United vs LASK Linz Europa League Round of 16 Leg 2/2 FYIs

Kickoff: Wed Aug 5, 8pm, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester, UK

First Leg: United won 5-0

United starting XI Prediction: go to this link

Match Preview: go to this link

Form Guide (all competitions) United WDLWD  LASK LLLWW

Odds: United 1/4   Draw 9/2   LASK 11/1

Prediction: United 3, LASK Linz 0

Even the B-team should be able to get a big result in this one, although it is remains to be seen just how hard OGS will really push the guys here.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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