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Chris Smalling claims staying at Manchester United would have been “the easy decision” and is determined to star as a ball-playing defender for Roma.

Smalling is one of few English players to have taken the plunge abroad, and he is ready to fully immerse himself into life at Roma, having rejected a bit-part role with United.

“You do see very few English players going abroad and those that do are largely good players otherwise they wouldn’t have gone,” he told The Telegraph.

“But I feel a lot of their downfall is in the language. On the pitch you can learn the different basics of ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘behind you’ but off the pitch you want to have that influence around the team.

“We will be traveling together as a team so it is important to communicate as much as I can. That helps me be more comfortable around my teammates. It makes the experience a lot better.

“Maybe where some English players are not fully committed to the language, off the pitch it is a big divide. By learning I can bring us closer and get to know them as soon as I can.

“[Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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