'I hope Smalling and Mkhitaryan stay at Roma' - Kluivert eager to see Premier League loanees remain in Italy

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Chris Smalling Roma 2019-20
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The Dutch winger has been impressed with the impact two loan signings have had at Stadio Olimpico in 2019-20

Justin Kluivert has expressed his hope that Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will extend their stay at Roma beyond the end of the season.

Manchester United defender Smalling completed a season-long loan move to Stadio Olimpico on August 30, after falling down the squad pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

Arsenal allowed Mkhitaryan to commit to the same terms with the Italian giants three days later, and both men have since rediscovered their best form in Serie A.

Smalling has been a rock in the heart of Roma's defence, taking in 28 appearances in all competitions in total to help the team challenge for a top-four finish and a spot in the latter stages of the Europa League.

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Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, has overcome a number of niggling injuries to contribute six goals and four assists to the Giallorossi's cause in 20 outings, slotting nicely into Paulo Fonseca's line up in midfield.

The Roma boss has publicly admitted that he would like to keep hold of the Premier League loanees, but as it stands, they will return to their parent clubs later this summer.

Kluivert is also eager to see the pair tied down to new contracts, having directly benefitted from playing alongside two "top players" that have been able to pass on valuable experience.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan Roma 2019-20

The Roma winger told Voetbalzone and Goal: "They fit very well into the team. Look at how Chris immediately made the difference. That is unbelievable. That is really a plus for the team.

"He is a defensive force, a warrior. Mkhitaryan has also proven his worth. He scores, gives assists, is important to the team. He passes on his experience to the team and certainly to me. I look up to him as a player who has been through a lot.

"He has had a good career and played for many clubs. I can certainly learn from that. We talk a lot anyway because he plays in the same position. He has a lot of experience, so of course he occasionally gives tips or emphasizes what I do well. I listen to that because he has already experienced it.

"I certainly hope they want to stay and they get the chance to stay. They are an added value to the team. They are top players."

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Kluivert went on to discuss the topic of racism in football, following Roma's pledge to include a 'Black Lives Matter' patch on all of the players' shirts for their remaining 12 Serie A fixtures.

He said. "Racism is the worst thing going on in the world. It doesn't belong in this age. It should be over, but unfortunately, it is not over yet.

"When you see how many people are protesting, it is just nice to see. We all need to make the world a better place. Together. No black or white, but together as one. That's why I like the fact that so many people pay attention to it. Racism no longer belongs here."

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