35 - Tom Cleverley Profile

Cleverley was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, but grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He joined Manchester United as a 15-year-old trainee in July 2005. During the 2005–06 season, he made nine appearances for the under-18 side. He also received a taste of reserve team football when he was named on the bench for the team's 4–1 away win over Everton on 21 February 2006. His first appearance for the reserves came in a 0–0 away draw to Bolton Wanderers almost a year later, on 15 February 2007, by which time he had become a regular in the under-18 team. However, just over a month later, he suffered a long-term injury and was ruled out for seven months.

He returned to action in October 2007, playing for the reserves in a 1–1 home draw with Liverpool. The 2007–08 season marked Cleverley's emergence as a regular in the Manchester United reserve team, making 21 appearances as the team went on to win both the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup, in which he scored in the final against Liverpool. He also scored his first goals in a Manchester United shirt on 23 January 2008, when he scored both of United's goals in a 2–0 away win over Bolton Wanderers in the Premier Reserve League. His consistent performances for the reserves earned him the captaincy of the team in the absence of regular captain Sam Hewson, as well as a nomination for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award – he lost out to Richard Eckersley.

In recognition of his sterling work for the reserves, on 24 July 2008, Cleverley was called up to the Manchester United first team for the remainder of their tour of South Africa and the match against Portsmouth in Nigeria. He made his first team debut against Kaizer Chiefs in the final of the 2008 Vodacom Challenge, coming on in place of Rodrigo Possebon at half-time, before he scored the third of United's four goals just after the hour mark.

He returned to regular reserve team duty for the 2008–09 season, but was given a first team squad number – 35 – when the first team squad list was announced on 15 August 2008, and was named on the bench for United's League Cup matches against Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers.

On 16 January 2009, Cleverley joined Leicester City for the remainder of the 2008–09 season and was given the number 7 shirt. He made his debut on 19 January 2009 in a 2–0 away win over Yeovil Town, coming on as an 85th-minute substitute for Matty Fryatt. After two goals in 15 matches for Leicester, Cleverley's loan spell came to a premature end after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Colchester United. He then returned to Manchester United for treatment and will undergo surgery on his shoulder on 2 April 2009. Towards the end of the season, along with James Chester and Corry Evans, Cleverley was nominated by Manchester United reserve team manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award.

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