The midfielder is an outstanding young player, but he is learning and he will not get it right all of the time. He was not the only hotly tipped youngster to fail to bring his A-game, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain too failing to shine.
However it was the Manchester United youngster who most was expected from last night, thanks to the verging on the ridiculous over-hype of his performance against Moldova.
I myself refrained from passing judgement on Friday's performance against a team ranked 141st in the world, below such giants as St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Burundi. Best to wait until a real test against Ukraine. And so it proved.
Yes England's world ranking of third is a mockery, but in Moldova's case it sounds about right, they played awfully, and England's 5-0 win was more a case of the home side making them look good rather than being truly outstanding.
England were back to their frustrating best last night. For sure Ukraine's goal they could do little about, but the Three Lions should not have been relying on a 87th minute Frank Lampard penalty to bail them out.
So where does Cesc Fabregas fit into all this? Really, we aren't so sure he does, but we refer you to the England manager Roy Hodgson who has fallen into the Steven Gerrard trap.
While refraining from comparing Wayne Rooney with Pele, and Joe Cole with Messi like his captain has in the past, he came up with his own comparison which really has not helped matters.
Talking about Cleverley he said: "'I suppose you could say Tom Cleverley is an attacking midfield player, he's an attacking midfield player in the same way Cesc Fabregas is. He is quite capable of coming back into a central midfield role and winning the ball when necessary."
While perhaps not going overboard with praise, a simple comparison with the Spaniard is all that's needed to create a dozen newspaper headlines for the next day, and Roy Hodgson is experienced and wise enough to know that.
The England manager has been repeatedly naive since coming into post, particularly recently with his ill-judged comments on John Terry which were seen as potentially prejudicial to the FA's upcoming hearing and had to be downplayed.
Comparisons of young players with other top footballers do not help, just ask the countless 'next Maradonas' to have fallen by the wayside down the years. It may have been an innocent comment by the manager, aimed at instilling confidence in his player, but it backfired.
Ukraine paid him close attention and he was unable to influence the game as against Moldova. Hopefully England will go forward with a bit more perspective from now on rather than again getting lost under the expectation of their own hype.
Until next time of course. Wait until Raheem Sterling scores a hat-trick against San Marino on October 12th and is compared to Garrincha. Shortly before England fall to a 2-0 defeat to Poland two days later...
image: © eschipul