Other than the fact he is a central defender and exactly what AS Roma needed after a summer of chasing Toby Alderweireld and Dejan Lovren, Chris Smalling is also a vegan.

That’s not a big deal in England, but in Italy, at least at the highest level of sport, it’s a bit of a curiosity.

So much so, in fact, that Gazzetta dello Sport dedicated a whole article to the Manchester United loanee’s diet on Thursday, and explain how he gets by in a country where meat can be an important staple of day to day meals.

First of all, they want to reassure everyone that Smalling is feeling more and more ‘at home’ in Rome since his arrival, and has discovered an ‘organic supermarket’ and a small vegan ‘bistro’ near his house, while the club have provided him with a nutritionist that has helped him sort out a ‘special menu’.

Gazzetta state that ‘from the first phone calls’ with the Roma executives, Smalling made his dietary habits clear, which led them to ‘immediately’ put him in touch with Guido Rillo, the nutritionist.

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The Italian newspaper then give us a breakdown of the Manchester United owned player’s diet.

For those who are interested: “It includes a Porridge-type breakfast with vegetable based yogurt, wholegrain oatmeal, fruit and dried fruit. For lunch and dinner, he eats brown rice or pasta (not egg), while fats are assimilated through olive oil and avocado. For protein, he gets it through tofu, seitan, legumes and vegan products that resemble animal-derived foods due to their shape and features.

“Obviously, at dinner, the quantities change compared to lunch, but the products used are essentially these. As far as post training or effort recovery is concerned, vegetable supplements with vegan certification.”

It seems Roma have put Smalling in the best possible conditions to thrive, and he has so far since recovering from an early injury.