Wayne Rooney reckons Chris Smalling is one of the best central defenders on the planet at the moment.
The Manchester United captain reckons that his team-mate has matured and progressed into one of the most feared and respected players in his position, after several years of failing to live up to expectations at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Rooney told United Review, the club’s match-day programme, that Smalling can be justified as being named amongst the best of his peers, and claims he is even as good as one of top three centre-backs playing today.
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 is great to see for both United and England, and hopefully that can continue for him and he can help us to be successful.
Rooney doesn’t mention anyone by name, but to put Smalling alongside the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Raphael Varane is high praise indeed for the former Fulham man.
There is no doubt Smalling has improved since the arrival of Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, with a starting spot at next summer’s Euro 2016 tournament with England all but assured if his current form keeps up.