The defender’s presence at the stadium he called home for a decade is one of the intriguing sub-plots for the Europa League semi-final, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan also returning as a former Red. However, neither player will get a warm welcome back – at least not from the fans, who are still unable to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic of course.
“I think that’s one disappointment, not to have a full house and all my friends and family watching a game between two clubs who have been a big part of my career,” said Smalling, when speaking at Roma’s pre-match press conference.
“That’s one unfortunate thing but it doesn’t take away the emotional side because I’ll know every player on the pitch and it’s such a big game as well. It has all the ingredients for wanting to give one of your best performances.”
🎙 | La conferenza stampa di Paulo Fonseca e Chris Smalling alla vigilia di #ManUtdRoma https://t.co/a1RJqfNOsI
— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) April 28, 2021