The 26-year-old spent three seasons with Scholes before the diminutive midfielder hung up his boots in 2013.
"I would have to say Paul Scholes," Smalling told the club's official website when asked who was the best player he has played with.
"Once you have played with him close-up, you can see that what he has is something that can't be taught.
"He is a natural. He would receive the ball and know exactly what was around him.
"He'd know when to play a simple pass or wait for the opposition to come close and then pass at the right moment. It was something special to watch."