Smith is well acquainted with Rooney. He wanted to give the forward his debut but was denied permission by the Premier League authorities as Rooney was still at school at the time.
"We weren't allowed to do it," recalled Smith.
"But he was an outstanding young player, the best I have seen in my own career.
"There is no doubt he has made his mark in football already and he has a tremendous amount of football to play in future."