Tom Cleverley has been talked about as heir apparent to Paul Scholes numerous times over the past couple of seasons, but he is yet to make an appearance in the United first team, a feat already achieved by the likes of Bebe, Obertan and even 18-year-old prodigy Ravel Morrison.
With Scholes retiring, Hargreaves on his way out of Old Trafford and seemingly a lack of creative talent, there is definitely space for Cleverley in the midfield. But with Ashley Young almost certainly on his way to United and most of us yearning for a Modric/Sneijder/Pastore, can Cleverley make his mark?
I hope, at least, that Cleverley gets a decent chance to show what he can do in our first team.
He has more than served his apprenticeship. After a hugely successful loan spell in the Championship with Watford in 2009-10, Cleverley made the step up, with an equally successful season-long loan at Wigan last season, showing he can score, as well as create goals.
Cleverley will be 22 by the time next season starts and it may be a case of now or never for the young midfielder. Sir Alex is never one to neglect products of the youth system and seems to have lost patience with Darron Gibson so I’m sure Cleverley will get his chance, especially if he impresses with the England U-21’s at the European Under-21 Championships.
The Wigan coaching staff have been raving about Cleverley, with coach Graham Barrow telling the Manchester Evening News:
“Tom is a very talented young man who is heading for the top. I fully expect him to make his mark at Old Trafford and challenge to take up the Paul Scholes role. He’s good enough and a bit special. United have a fine player in their ranks.”
The ambitious midfielder has already spoken about wanting to emulate the German U-21’s and break into the England first team following success this summer and I’m sure a prominent role in the United first team is firmly set in his sights.