23-year-old midfielder Tom Cleverley has had varied success so far in his career and has become an integral part of Manchester United's current midfield of late, and has the potential go on to be a star for years to come.
Since joining the club as a 11-year-old from Bradford City, Cleverley has climbed the ladder and proved his talent with eye catching performances in various loan spells namely at Leicester City, Watford and recently at Wigan Athletic. This prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to reward the midfielder with a place in the first team squad.
Paul Scholes' retirement before the 2011/12 season left an opening in United's central midfield. Cleverley was identified by manager Sir Alex Ferguson as a potential homegrown replacement. Cleverley was praised by Ferguson after playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–1 victory over Barcelona in a pre-season friendly match. Ferguson said that Cleverley was United's "best player" against Barcelona and he indicated that there is a strong possibility that he could be among the starting eleven in the opening round fixture of the Premier League season against West Bromwich Albion.
Cleverley made his competitive debut for United in the 3–2 comeback win over derby rivals Manchester City in the 2011 Community Shield. He came on as a second-half substitute for Michael Carrick after United went 2–0 down at half time, and assisted Nani's equaliser, after a pass and move build up. At the start of the Cleverley built a stunning partnership with Anderson only for injury to strike as he had just started to cement his place in the first team.
With the start of the new season,Cleverley looks fresh and up for the challenge to reclaim the league title. His inclusion team GB also helped him gain some valuable game time prior to the season where he has put in some exceptional performances. He hopes to be a part of a consistent midfield trio alongside Michael Carrick and Shinji Kagawa, but Paul Scholes and Anderson will compete for places too.
Last week Cleverley put in a brilliant performance for England in the 5-0 thumping of Moldova gaining several plaudits, but the follow-up match against Ukraine showed he is not the finished article just yet and has some way to go and improve.
Cleverley is still young and has many years in front of him to help him become one of the best midfielders in the world. With Paul Scholes still at the club, he would be wise to continue learning from one of England's most talented midfielders in generations.
Will Cleverley step up his game this season?
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