Date: 21st October 2011 at 2:49am
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Although the scorelines have generally been positive, in the past couple of weeks, the chatter amongst some sections of Manchester United fans have been that of unease. It all began with the 1-1 draw against Stoke followed by conceding 3 goals against FC Basel in the Champions League and the continuation of the subsequent ‘unconvincing’ performances.

Manchester United now go into the Manchester derby on Sunday, having hit this indifferent patch of form, with a  pretty large group of the fans on social networking sites (such as twitter) believing that it is solely down to the absence of Tom Cleverley from injury as to why our team have been playing the way that they have.

Although he is oblivious to this chatter since, as the club maintains, he is not in possession of a social networking account, the pressure really has been put onto Tom Cleverley since he burst onto the scene in the Community Shield helping Manchester United overturn a half time defecit of 2-0 into a 3-2 victory. He was undoubtably one of the stand out performers that afternoon and before his injury he continued that form into almost every game that he played in. Since his absence has coincided with some indifferent performances, it has led some people to believe that this is the reason. Is it really though?

This season there have been a lot of first team players missing with various different injuries of various different lengths; Antonio Valencia, Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Rafael, Fabio, Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez, Patrice Evra, Danny Welbeck as well as Tom Cleverley and Darron Gibson whose injury looks like it could be long term. Most of these players have had a couple of weeks out because of injury. Is it reasonable to expect them to perform to their very best as soon as they come back? A lot the players above who have returned from injury have been eased back into the team in recent weeks. Couldn’t that explain the indifferent bunch of performances?

In addition to the returns from injuries, there have also been a few players who did not play much in the first few matches of the season since Sir Alex Ferguson regularly named similar teams to that which played in the second half of the Community Shield victory over Manchester City. These players did not get much game time at the start of the season and are probably not as sharp as the players who were playing regularly? Understandably so I suppose.

Whatever the reason, many people have almost come to expect Tom Cleverley to return to the first team and play just as he was earlier in the season, performances which meritted him an England call up. Maybe he will, it is yet to be seen, however to put hopes on a youngster who is relatively new to the first team setup to come back straight into the first team and make an immediate game-changing impact is just unrealistic. In some cases he has been billed as almost the saviour for our apparently ‘deficient’ and ‘suspect’ midfield and that is just unreasonable.

I like many others hope that his return from injury will come as soon as possible. He possesses all of the technical attributes to play as a centre midfielder at Manchester United for years. He is a wonderful player and possesses a great first touch as well as being a very good passer of the ball. His return will come as a boost to the whole Manchester United squad, however to expect him to come in and hope everything will just instantly tick on his reinstatement to the first team is just purely unrealistic.

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10 responses to “Is There Too Much Pressure On Tom Cleverley?”

  1. Justin says:

    Dude, nice analysis, but don’t write that off…He’ll make a shock return by scoring on his very first appearance after injury. And you missed out something, that when Tom was playing Rooney stayed up front.Since injury our top scorer played deeper in the game, providing chances to others, who failed to score.

  2. I am a die hard Manchester United Fan. I follow Manchester United day in day out. However, my comment is that as long as Sir Alex chooses to play Valencia as right back and Fletcher in the right midfield we will not hit our form.

    Those who follow Man Utd, go and watch since when we are not doing well this season. True it is that we have an injury crisis but using Valencia as full back is not the solution. Fletcher is a one paced footballer and can never accelarate the game. Valencia is wary about overlapping. When in one recent match we moved Phil Jones to the position of full back and Valencia moved on the right wing then once again there was fluidity in our game.
    If we want to be like Barcelona we need to have some consistency with our team. We cannot week in week out change everything.

  3. Gorse Hill Red says:

    The jury is still out whether Cleverley will be the real deal United and the midfielder that can take hold of the game like his predecessor Keane.

    There is no question though that since his injury United has struggled giving under par performances for the last five matches.
    A coincidence? I hope not.

  4. Lexxy says:

    I hope he comes in and perform well. Like i have always said on this blog, our achilles heel will be our midfield, they are just not good enough and why SAF didnt strengthen that position during the window is beyond me, especially after the retirement of Paul Scholes. . . . . . . . .

  5. José says:

    I agree totally with this article, to expect a young lad finding his feet in the first team to significantly effect the results of a team the size of Manchester United is a massive ask. But I do believe that there could be no greater incentive for a young lad who has came through the youth system. For the lad to think that Millions of United supporters are wishing him well and counting on him to help the team when he returns I at least feel that the effort Cleverly will give will ensure that he will make an impact.

    I feel that that has lacked lately in the midfield, some hunger, tempo and ingenuity. I hope to see cleverly back soon.

  6. Eduardo says:

    When will Cleverly be back?

  7. Martin Malta says:

    I agree with your analyses, however if players are not expected to do well after injury or not than what should we expect? and when should he be drafted in? We want all the trophies that there are, and there aren’t any easy games any more, so please don’t give this bull ideas….

  8. joe_mugo says:

    The problem spots at Man Utd remain
    – lack of an A class attacking midfielder. Cleverly is getting there but not yet
    – lack of an A class defensive midfielder….all clear to see from the way teams from the last 6 games have been running at us
    – A reputable central defender to partner the ageing duo of Vidic & Ferdy. Evans is not hacking with Jones quite naivè at times
    – that left back spot is a cause of concern….how many did we concede again from there in the City game? Blushes blushes…..Monsieur Evra has the heart…but…..

  9. ishaq says:

    Mine is a bit of advise to Sir, i recommended his recruitment of defenders(smalling & jones) and wing(young). But, why will he not open his cheque book to buy even one creating midfielder in order not to rely one and only young promising lad? Think about what i said.

  10. tom t says:

    I see real promise in cleverly but at the same time I see what ur saying in ur post…we can’t rely on cleverly to be our saviour… we haven’t seen a midfielder who can command a game and grind out a game and rally his surrounding players in a long time. I think Anderson and carrick are no more than squad players. But I think your post really underlines our weakness in midfield and if you look at all the big games we have lost in the past few years you can nearly always see how its were overpowered in midfield