Manchester United center-back Chris Smalling is "gutted" after his loan deal with Roma wasn't extended to allow the Englishman to partake in the club's Europa League last-16 clash with Sevilla on Thursday.
United confirmed Tuesday that Smalling's time in Serie A was up following a campaign where the 30-year-old aerial whiz was among the league's best central defenders.
"I'm gutted that I can't finish what we started this season. To experience the love shown to me in such a short time was extra special and it will not be forgotten," Smalling wrote on Twitter. "I want to thank and wish all the players and staff the best of luck against Sevilla. DAJE ROMA!"
Roma wanted a short-term extension for Smalling's deal that would permit him to finish the season after the footballing calendar was adjusted to accommodate the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from ESPN UK.
Reports suggest United rebuffed Roma's plea, raising eyebrows after the Red Devils signed off on a similar request for Inter Milan loanee Alexis Sanchez, who reportedly nears a permanent deal with the Nerazzurri.
United, Roma, and Inter are all vying for Europa League glory ahead of the midweek resumption. United and Roma are drawn in the same bracket and could face each other at the quarterfinal stage, while Inter is on the other side of the bracket.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke fondly about Smalling on Tuesday and said, "Chris has shown this season that he will be valuable so I've been speaking to Chris throughout and been delighted with his season."
Smalling was a fan favorite at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring three times in 30 appearances after becoming surplus to requirements at United following the blockbuster acquisition of Harry Maguire.