Chris Smalling speaks out after family held at gunpoint in terrifying robbery

Former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has thanked fans for their support after he and his family were held at gunpoint in a terrifying armed robbery at their Italian home.

Smalling, 31, who has 31 caps for England, was forced to open a safe at his house in southern Rome which was targeted by three armed men while he and his family slept.

The defender, who joined AS Roma on a permanent deal last summer having impressed on a previous loan spell, was reportedly forced to hand over a Rolex watch and other items of jewellery as wife Sam and the couple's two-year-old son Leo were subjected to the terrifying ordeal.

Sam is said to have called the police at 5am on Friday morning, with officers arriving on the scene shortly afterwards.

Smalling didn't play in Roma's Europa League match against Ajax on Thursday night as he continues to nurse a knee injury, with his side winning 3-2 on aggregate to set up a semi-final tie against former employers United.

On Saturday morning he tweeted: "I’d like to thank everyone for your well wishes and support! My family although very shaken up are luckily unharmed!

"Hoping these people can find a more meaningful way to live their lives without causing such harm and distress to others."

Smalling's former Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford was one of many to tweet their support for the defender.

Rashford wrote: "Thinking about you @ChrisSmalling and your lovely family.

"So sorry to wake up to the news this morning.

"Can’t imagine how you’re feeling but I hope you’re OK."

Smalling's Roma manager Paulo Fonseca had his house targeted in November, with around €100,000 worth of items taken when he and his family were not at home.

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