Smith Rowe is enjoying a standout season for the Gunners after properly breaking through last year - scoring ten goals for Mikel Arteta in this campaign and earning his first ever England cap against Albania in November.
Rooney has been keeping tabs on Smith Rowe for some time and even tried to bring him to Derby, the United legend revealed, saying he is a big fan.
"Yeah, I am [a fan]," Rooney told Sky Sports. "I think he's a fantastic young player.
"When I first went in as manager of Derby, he's actually a player who I enquired about to try and bring in on loan."
Rooney raved about Smith Rowe's technical ability as both a goalscorer and a creator, comparing him to former Southampton and Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana due to his ability to play with either foot.
"He can take the ball with both feet, he can score goals, create goals. I really like him and think he's got a bright future," he added.
"I think he's quite similar to Adam Lallana in how he runs with the ball and off both feet. He makes good runs to get in behind. He's got an eye for goal. I really like him."
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