Netherlands international midfielder Kevin Strootman is loving life in Italy’s Eternal City following an early August switch to Serie A.

  • By David Lee Wheatley
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strootman romaStrootman expressed his delight at the €17m move on joining the Giallorossi and made a long-awaited league debut Sunday just gone, having missed the opening weekend with a sprained left ankle suffered in a friendly win over Ternana.

His new club won 2-0 away at Livorno without their new central midfielder to start off the new season in style, before Strootman returned to training in time to make his first appearance in front of 39,000 fans at the famous Stadio Olimpico against newly-promoted Verona.

Despite that minor injury setback in pre-season, the Dutchman looked fit and raring to go as he lined-up in midfield alongside Pjanic, Florenzi and club icon Daniele De Rossi. Strootman’s box-to-box play almost led to a debut goal on the half-hour mark when his snapshot was blocked by opposing goalkeeper Rafael.

Roma took control during a ten-minute second-half spell when first Cacciatore deflected Maicon’s shot into his own net on 56 minutes and then Pjanic made it two with a sweet lob over Rafael just three minutes later. It was then left to sub Ljajic, on for his debut following a move from Fiorentina, to finish the game as a contest with a well-drilled strike past the keeper.

Strootman missed a fine opportunity to make it four before being replaced by experienced Brazilian Taddei after 87 precious minutes of action.

It was a splendid way in which to begin his competitive career in the Italian capital and the result puts Roma joint-top of the league alongside reigning champions Juventus, Inter, Napoli and Fiorentina – all sitting pretty with 100% records.

Next up for Strootman and Roma is a trip to Parma, who’ve started slowly when picking up only one point from their first two fixtures.

That match follows the World Cup qualifying away double-header for the Dutch versus minnows Estonia and Andorra, as Strootman and Co. attempt to get ever closer to sealing their spot in Brazil following six wins from six so far in their group.