Date: 11th September 2012 at 11:43pm
Written by:
Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley

The future of United?

Tom Cleverley has played less games for United than Darren Ferguson, has less England caps than Geoff Thomas, hasn’t won any major trophies for United, scored any competitive goals for United, nor managed six games in succession for United. Tom Cleverley is a very talented football player who may end up being a legend. He isn’t one yet.

That really is the simple truth about the most talked about English midfielder of the past few days, Cleverley is a very good player, just as Ronny Johnsen was, Phil Neville was and Lee Sharpe was. For different reasons things didn’t work out as well as they could have for that aforementioned trio yet they could do for Cleverley, he has the right attitude, bags of ability and the perfect players around him, but he hasn’t made it yet, in fact with a fully fit squad, he may not even be a ‘first team player.’

I’ve long been an admirer of Cleverley, dating back to his reserve team appearances and loan spells at Leicester, Watford and Wigan. In February 2011 I wrote an article asking whether Cleverley could have the same impact on the United side that Jack Wilshere was having on the Arsenal team, coming to the conclusion that he could. At the beginning of last season, it seemed as though my theory was proving correct as the midfielder produced a string of stunning displays, until Kevin Davies clumsy- or deliberate depending on your point of view- challenge all but ended Tom’s season.

The last week or so has seen Bradford-born Cleverley being hailed as ‘England’s new saviour’ all on the back of a good performance against a lacklustre Moldova side. Tonight we saw many questioning his ability after he missed a couple of decent chances against an average Ukraine team. The fact is regardless of the media hyperbole Cleverley at 23 years old, knows full well that this is ‘his time’ to prove himself, not for England, but for United, after all there’s not much chance of making the plane to Rio if he’s warming the bench at Old Trafford- although it would be a different matter if it was the Anfield bench, obviously.

With Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and even Ashley Young all capable of playing ‘in the hole’ where Cleverley likes to operate for England. Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and a returning Darren Fletcher, not to mention possibly Phil Jones all contenders for midfield places at United, Cleverley isn’t going to just walk into the side regardless of form.

Cleverley is a top quality player who could be the sort to move United forward in the tika-taka way we seem to be desperate to achieve, but with only a handful of games under his belt for both club and country, now’s the time to be patient and assess what he can do over a season, rather than either laud or lambast him over a handful of games.

Is Cleverley the real deal? Is it time to wait and see? Feel free to comment, suggest or abuse below:

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9 responses to “The Truth About Tom Cleverley”

  1. obioha k says:

    just as his name suggests, he is a clever player and if moulded properly, could be the one to replace paul scholes in the near future. my problem is just the media, and if he can go along emulating the shy paul scholes by staying away from the media and unnecessary hype, he will really go places.

  2. David Olabamire says:

    Cleverly wil be a great player if pep gardiola takes over old trafford for tiki taka football.

  3. Shaun says:

    Cleverley will prove himself over time. Nobody judges Lampard, Gerrard or Rooney over a few games.

    I’ve seen enough of him to conclude that he’s a quick release pass and move player, and although people saying he hasn’t got a goal in him, he has demonstrated during loan spells at Wigan, Watford and Leicester that he has. The number 10 role isn’t his game tho, not behind a lone striker – too much pressure placed on his inexperienced shoulders and the composure in front of goal maybe lacking as a result of this.
    Once he gets a goal or two under his belt it will end the debate and he can continue to demonstrate his abilities alongside technical players such as Carrick and Wiltshire

  4. Red Indian says:

    We all know Tom Cleverley has talent and is a decent player. We all know he can tika taka, but who is going to accompany him in the middle of the park? I’ve seen Welbeck with some good quick one-twos, but who else?

    Carrick recycles possession, he likes a simple pass. Giggsy in the middle means we lose the ball quite often. If he pushes it up to Rooney we lose the ball often as well.Hopefully the introduction of Kagawa and RvP will help Cleverley develop more.

    And I disagree, his best position isn’t at the top of the midfield 3, but when he’s facing goal. That’s when he was at his best last season, when he was partnered by Anderson (it was Nani/Valencia, Young, Cleverley, Welbeck, Anderson and Rooney, that forward line).

  5. John Tring says:

    Cleverley is nothing but a prospect. No more. And a Xavi or Iniesta or Pirlo or David Silva he is not. He will not be. Utd need a real deal not a possibility. England? Who really cares? A team without any talent bar Rooney is just an ordinary team. The FA are only to spend money like paying kingly salary to retirees like Capello, Hodgson et el.

  6. #07 says:

    Cleverley likes to play in the hole for England? Really. I’ve never heard him say that. Both Pearce and Hodgson have chosen to play him there but he seems far more comfortable in centre midfield, which is where Fergie chooses to play him. If he’s gonna make it at the highest level it will be in the middle of the park as Clev’s not the kind of player who thrives with the game behind him.

  7. cohen says:

    I’m sorry to said as a Manchester united fan I don’t think tom cleverley is that good of a player, also don’t think he is a replacement for Paul scholes.