‘I feel sorry for him’ — Jose Mourinho baffled by Chris Smalling’s exile from the England national team
Jose Mourinho has admitted he “feels sorry” for Roma defender Chris Smalling as he continues to get overlooked by Gareth Southgate for England selection — and he believes the ex-Man Utd man should receive a recall for the World Cup.
The 32-year-old Londoner has been a revelation in the Eternal City ever since trading Old Trafford for the Giallorossi in 2019. Having joined initially on loan, Smalling was signed permanently by Roma in 2020 and has been a consistent fixture in their defence.
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- Mourinho believes Smalling deserves an England recall and says he “feels sorry” for him for being consistently snubbed (click here for full quotes).
- Smalling hasn’t appeared for England since 2017, despite his excellent form in Italy for Roma.
- He was named in the ‘Team of the Tournament’ last season as Roma won the Europa Conference League.
- Sky Bet are offering odds of 12/1 for Chris Smalling to make Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.
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Despite his fine form at the Stadio Olimpico, which culminated in winning last season’s inaugural Europa Conference League, and being named in the ‘Team of the Tournament’, Smalling hasn’t received an England cap for five years, last appearing at international level in 2017.
Considering Southgate adopts a back-three system, Smalling would be forgiven for thinking his chances of a recall are a bit more likely. But, for one reason or another, Southgate has continued to look the other way when it comes to Roma’s backline, a notion that has not sat well with Mourinho.
Following Roma’s recent 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Monday night, Mourinho told reporters: “If I were the coach of a national team, I would do anything to have someone like him at my disposal.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of respect to Gareth Southgate when I say that I feel sorry for a player who’s playing at such a high level, like Smalling, who won’t get the opportunity he deserves.”