England manager Gareth Southgate has apologised for previous criticism of Roma star Chris Smalling, hinting that he could be recalled for Euro 2020.
Smalling has found a new lease of life since joining Roma on loan from Manchester United in the summer, making 28 appearances in all competitions.
All of those appearances have been starts, which shows just how fundamental Smalling has been to the squad when available.
The 30-year-old has not played for England since 2017, with Southgate suggesting it was because he struggled to play out from the back.
Smalling has excelled doing just that for Roma, however, and with his defensive game being outstanding, Southgate may just have to consider bringing him back into the England fold.Embed from Getty Images
“I’ve never ruled anybody out. I think that would be wrong,” admitted Southgate.
“I said I probably regretted the way the message [came over]. By praising others for certain attributes, there was criticism for Chris.
“It was my fault and it was unfair on him. I think he’s done well in Italy. He’s playing at another big club. He was playing at a big club before.
“We’re watching everybody because we’ve got to make sure we make the right decision.
“I spoke to him when I left him out the squad and explained what I explained to everybody. Of course, because of the way it came out, there was little point – I wasn’t going to say anything that hadn’t already been said.”
Somewhat ironically, England’s next international is against Italy, the country in which Smalling has excelled this season. If selected, the defender could come up against teammates such as Gianluca Mancini, Leonardo Spinazzola, Bryan Cristante or Lorenzo Pellegrini.
More about Smalling: Read the Englishman’s comments on whether he would like to stay at Roma beyond his loan here.