Cleverley dispels youth fears

Tom Cleverley believes that claims of a dearth in young English talent are unfair.

The Manchester United midfielder is one of the leading lights in England's Under 21 team and impressed in Tuesday's victory over Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate.

The 20-year-old was expected to go on a third loan spell this season after previous stints at Leicester and Watford.

But Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to keep him at Old Trafford and although England have had to hand senior call-ups to inexperienced keepers Scott Loach and Frankie Fielding for the friendly with Hungary, Cleverley reckons the situation is not as bad as many fear.

"People are a bit harsh to say there is no talent coming through," he said.

"It is there. A couple of times we have had the problem the first team has and we just don't gel.

"When you look at the players; (Theo) Walcott, (Danny) Welbeck, (Jack) Rodwell, (Jack) Wilshere. The talent in the squad is unbelievable.

"A few of those lads have played Champions League and European football. They also have plenty of Premier League games under their belts.

"The fact Wilshere is in the senior squad just shows it can be done."

Cleverley, who turns 21 on Thursday, was named Watford's player of the year last season after scoring 11 goals in 33 Championship games.

He had been earmarked for another loan stint this season, perhaps to a Premier League club, before it was confirmed he would be staying at United.

And although Cleverley will not get as many games with the Red Devils this season, he believes the experience of being in United's first-team squad could be of greater benefit to his development.

"I do feel one game at United is worth five games somewhere else," he said.

"Federico Macheda is an example. He has had a limited number of games but he has done well and made a name for himself.

"There are advantages and disadvantages to going on loan. I would have got more games somewhere else but training with this quality of players every day is a huge advantage.

"Playing for Manchester United is a big thing," added the Bradford-born youngster. "But I know just staying here is only part of the job.

"What I have to do now is impress the manager enough to get some minutes on the pitch.

"If I can play the cup games, get on now and again in the Premier League and maybe have a couple of starts and score a few goals, I will be happy."

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 12 August 2010