It’s been a good week for Tom Cleverley.
After an impressive performance off the bench in last Sunday’s Charity Shield comeback against City, a surprise England call-up on Monday, there is the chance that Cleverley could make his first start for United in the Premiership opener against West Brom on Sunday.
After an impressive performance against City, Cleverley has certainly earned himself many fans, including Fabio Capello, who named the 21 year old in his squad for the friendly against Holland this week, before it was postponed. While it was only a friendly and we shouldn’t get that carried away, it at least shows the midfielder is on Capello’s radar and with a few more good performances, Cleverley could soon be following in the footsteps of close friend Jack Wilshere and appear for the national team.
After a string of excellent performances in pre-season and on Sunday, Cleverley certainly has impressed several United players, with Patrice Evra saying:
“You saw [at Wembley] that he is not afraid. He has a lot of energy and Manchester United need a player like this.
“He’s a quiet lad – he’s a bit like Scholesy in that way. He never talks much, he just does his job on the pitch. Players like him are the future and, to win the league, the boss is not going to be afraid to give young players a chance. He knows they can help us to win more titles. That’s the United way. It’s always been that way.”
What does this season hold for Cleverley then? The youngster can certainly make an impact for United this season, and offers a more attacking option in central midfield compared to the likes of Anderson, Carrick and Fletcher. With Sir Alex always keen to give young players a chance, Cleverley should get his chance to shine this season, even if it is mostly off the bench.
The comparisons with Scholes are a bit early at the moment – we need to see how Cleverley performs on a regular basis against top competition before we even attempt to make those comparisons – but even if Cleverley can partially fill Scholes’ boots, then it’s a good thing.
And with the likes of De Gea, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Cleverley and Wellbeck to replace retired legends like Van Der Sar and Scholes this season, there is an emphasis on youth this season, with Sir Alex keen to get the youngsters playing together regularly to create a new legacy at United when the great man retires.
The only thing that could affect Cleverley’s progress this season would be whether Wesley Sneidjer completes his on-off move to Old Trafford before the end of the month. With the club apparently ready to pull the plug on a move for Sneijder this would see Cleverley’s playing time increase and give the youngster a chance to try and fill the Scholes void at Old Trafford and earn his place in the United side.
What do you think – how much of an impact can Cleverley have at United this season?
Follow Tom Jinks on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tomjinks
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