Baptism of fire in store for Roma new-boy Chris Smalling

Chris Smalling could make his Roma debut in Sunday’s derby against Lazio after joining on loan from Manchester United.

The 29-year-old, who has signed until the end of the season, is available to get his first taste of Serie A football at the Stadio Olimpico, where Roma will be the designated visitors.

“It is a game that is always on television, all over the world,” Smalling said of the derby. “It’s big in everyone’s minds, across the world.

“Just in terms of the fans, they are crazy and that is what we need as players – it drives us on. So to come in and have the derby within a couple of days is the perfect set-up.”

Roma will be looking for their first win of the season after surrendering a lead three times to draw 3-3 with Genoa in their opener last week in new coach Paulo Fonseca’s first game.

Lazio opened the season in impressive fashion with a 3-0 win away to Sampdoria, a victory which has made them favourites for Sunday’s derby.

However, sporting director Igli Tare sounded a note of caution given the nature of the derby.

“I don’t think we’re favourites,” he said on Cittaceleste.it after the Europa League draw. “We started well against Sampdoria but Sunday will not be easy because the derby is always a separate competition.

“But we want to win because it is important to our season.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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