Chris Smalling has claimed that Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero have replaced Wayne Rooney as the toughest members of the Manchester United squad. The 26-year-old defender believes the Argentine duo have a fiery side that sets them apart from their United teammates.

Rooney, 30, has generally been considered to be one of the tougher members of the United squad ever since joining the club from Everton in 2004. But Smalling believes that the record-breaking striker has lost that title in recent times.

"Sergio [Romero] and Marcos [Rojo]. They've got that Argentinian switch on them, they're not all there. If something bad was to happen, you want them in your group," he said, according to Sky Sports. Smalling said Rooney's reputation took a dive after a video emerged online of the United captain apparently being knocked unconscious by Phil Bardsley in a sparring session in Rooney's kitchen. "Wazza got knocked out by Phil Bardsley, so that lowered his reputation a little," he said. "But I think the South American duo are up there, and then Wazza [Wayne Rooney] can come in slowly behind."

However, Smalling also cheekily suggested that United manager Louis van Gaal might provide a stiff challenge for the Argentine duo. "He might even challenge me! He's a big guy as well, so I'm sure he can handle himself," the United defender quipped.