PHOTO: Roma fans show their support for injured Manchester United target

Jedvaj Hazard Strootman

Kevin Strootman is a popular man in the Italian capital.

AS Roma supporters have never been the easiest to please, but a brilliant first campaign under Rudi Garcia has seen the club’s fan base in high spirits over the past seven months.

Francesco Totti continues to receive the adoration only befitting a man of his stature at the Stadio Olimpico, whilst new heroes in summer signings Gervinho and Mehdi Benatia have emerged.

For his part, Strootman has become a particular favourite of those that fill out the Curva Sud on a weekly basis, his all-action performances winning plaudits from fans and pundits alike.

A devastating anterior cruciate knee injury suffered last time out against Napoli has seen the Dutchman ruled out for the remainder of the season, however, and shattered his World Cup dreams.

Yet since landing on the treatment table for at least the next six months, the 23-year-old has received an outpouring of affection from Roma supporters in a striking indication of just how highly regarded he’s become in a short time in Italy.

And the latest act of encouragement came in the form of a banner unfurled prior to the Giallorossi’s encounter with Udinese on Monday.

Translated, the message to Strootman read: “A gladiator must always be honoured… Let’s go Kevin!!!”

A simple display it may seem, but one that serves as a reminder for Manchester United of exactly what they missed out in failing to get their hands on the midfielder last summer.

Not only is it Strootman’s skill that his club’s faithful appreciate, but his commitment and drive in the centre of the park that have helped mould Garcia’s side into a formidable outfit.

Exactly this type of dynamism is what the Red Devils have lacked this term, and one can’t help but wonder how much of a difference the Netherlands international could’ve made at Old Trafford.

Reports have indicated that United could be back in for Strootman come July - though others have stated the injury has seen off any thoughts of an imminent move for his services.

At any rate, Roma wouldn’t be inclined to let him go, highlighted by the relationship between club, player and fan base.

The Strootman ship has seemingly sailed for United to the Serie A giants’ benefit - his impact in the Eternal City felt even as he’s far from the pitch starting a lengthy recovery process.

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