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'I feel sorry for Smalling!' - Mourinho frustrated Roma star 'won't get opportunity he deserves' for England under Southgate

15:13 EAT 19/10/2022
Chris Smalling Roma 2022-23
Jose Mourinho has suggested Chris Smalling should be in line for an England call-up for the World Cup on the back of his form for Roma this season.
  • Smalling not been capped by England since 2017
  • Mourinho suggests he deserves a call-up
  • Southgate defensive woes could see surprise pick

WHAT HAPPENED? Ex-Manchester United defender Smalling has been quite the hit in his three years in Rome. After spending a year on loan at Stadio Olimpico, he joined permanently in 2020, and has established himself as one of Mourinho's most important players in the last 18 months. The Portuguese feels Smalling deserves his first call-up to the England team since 2017 ahead of the World Cup, but doesn't expect Southgate to give him that chance.

WHAT HE SAID: After Roma's 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Monday night, Mourinho said: "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."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Smalling has been capped 31 times by his country, the last coming in a World Cup qualifier against Scotland in 2017. Southgate could have a selection dilemma on his hands at the back when he finalises his squad for Qatar, with Reece James and Kyle Walker both long-term absentees and Harry Maguire and John Stones both nursing smaller injuries. However, it remains to be seen whether Smalling will be drafted back into the fold.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR SMALLING? Smalling has scored three goals already this season and will be looking to build on his good form when Roma face Serie A leaders Napoli on October 23.