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‘We can see the top player he is’ – Solskjaer expects Man Utd loanee to return next year

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that he expects Chris Smalling to return to the club after his loan spell with Roma comes to an end.

As noted by BBC Sport, the 30-year-old joined the Italian giants on a season-long loan deal this past summer, with his playing time likely to have been limited after the arrival of Harry Maguire.

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Smalling has no doubt made the most of his switch to the Stadio Olimpico, as after shaking off an injury issue early on in his stint, he has now gone on to make 13 appearances across all competitions.

In those games, the Giallorossi have conceded 10 goals, and so the England international has made a big impact in keeping things tight at the back and has filled the void left behind by Kostas Manolas after his exit to join Napoli.

Roma have the fourth best defensive record in Serie A as a result, and so Smalling appears to be well settled and enjoying his time in the Italian capital.

However, Solskjaer has evidently been keeping a close eye on the Man Utd loanee and believes that he will return to Old Trafford when his loan deal comes to an end next summer.

“Yeah [he will return],” he said in response to a question from a reporter, as reported by Football Italia, and also noted by United’s official site.

“Chris has been fantastic, but we know sometimes if you change the environment it can go both ways. But Chris is the type to relish these challenges.

“He’s cultured, enjoys life down there. It’s a new experience for him, and he is a boy who couldn’t be here without being a regular and I’m so happy for him. We can see the top player he is.”

While that’s a fair expectation to have and a desire from Solskjaer given Smalling’s form, it remains to be seen whether or not the player himself is keen on a return if he faces the same problem of potentially not being a regular starter.

Smalling has that at Roma and is flourishing, and so it will be interesting to see what he wants for his future at the end of the season and whether or not that involves fighting for a place at Man Utd with the likes of Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

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