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Spalletti encouraged by Strootman progress

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti is encouraged by Kevin Strootman's progress in his recovery from knee surgery after the Dutchman played 45 minutes for the youth team on Friday.

Strootman, who has not featured for Roma since January 2015, scored from the spot on his return in a 6-0 win for the Primavera against Avellino.

"Kevin showed he's on the road back,"  Spalletti said. "And I really liked the fact that even when the result was in the bag he went and got stuck into two tackles.

"The thing I most liked about Kevin yesterday was when he stood on the end of the wall to distract the opponents.

"It's the sort of thing that star players don't always do but he's very professional and has no problem doing 'normal' stuff – extra things like that when you could end up having the ball smashed into your face. He's an extraordinary person."

Fifth-placed Roma meet Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday.