Roma Pillar Smalling Coming Back from Major Injury

Five months after his last appearance, Chris Smalling will return to the game-day squad list for Saturday’s clash with Inter. The defender has been ramping up in training for a week or so and will be back on the bench in Roud 24, SportMediaset informs.

Daniele De Rossi confirmed it in his pre-match presser.

“Renato Sanches and Smalling are fundamental like all the other players. Everybody is useful. The physical difference between them and their teammates is reducing. The right mentality and the conditioning are coming back. I haven’t seen them a lot on the pitch, but I’ve liked what they have shown in training so far.”

The new coach also indirectly confirmed that the Portuguese wouldn’t leave to join Besiktas in the final days of the transfer window in Turkey.

Smalling has been on the mend for 162 days due to a patellar tendonitis that looked manageable at first. It’s the longest absence of his career. He has played just 245 minutes in three games this campaign, Il Romanista relays.

The injury caused friction with José Mourinho, who called him out for not playing through it and not taking painkillers, which the defender refuted later on.

Smalling had previously thrived as the linchpin of the Giallorossi’s three-man defense. De Rossi switched to a four-man one since he took over. It remains to be seen whether the coach will stick with it once he has more options. Evan N’Dicka will be back next week after the end of AFCON.

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