Smalling has been in unbelievable form for Man United and England for a number of months now.
His performances have steadily been gaining recognition as of late and he is now widely considered to be the Premier League’s best centre-backs.
Rooney lavished praise on the “incredible” Smalling and insisted he is one of the best in the world in his position.
Asked whether he had been impressed by Smalling, Rooney said: “Yeah, I have been. He has been incredible and for me is right up there in world football in terms of centre-halves.
“He is in the top three centre-halves in the world – I think he is that good. He is a great player and he is developing to become more of a leader of the back four. It’s great to see, for both United and England, and hopefully that can continue for him and he can help us be successful.”
Smalling suffered a slow start to his United career due to injuries and being played out of position but the Englishman has really come into his own as of late. All great teams are built on solid defenders and Smalling’s work at the back has allowed his teammates to flourish at the other end of the pitch.