Rooney scored the winner at Anfield on Sunday, his fifth goal in the last four games, and has looked sharper after he was omitted from the team that started the game against Stoke on Boxing Day.
“Yeah, I think so,” Smalling said when asked if Rooney’s spell on the sidelines had improved his form.
“And it was a busy Christmas period, but since he has missed that game and come back in he has shown he is a top class performer.
“I think it can refresh you and spur you on a bit more to prove to everyone just how good you are and people don’t forget that.
“I think given his career as a striker you go through periods where you don’t score but the best ones are the ones that come back and get on another run and Wazza has shown that throughout his career. It’s good to see he is back among the goals.”