Tom Cleverley hasn’t been as impressive as he was at the start of last season alongside Anderson, but nevertheless the start to this latest campaign has still been encouraging. Last year, Cleverley formed a dangerous partnership with Anderson in the central midfield that helped to tear apart teams like Tottenham, Arsenal and Bolton. With the youngster picking up a lengthy injury against Bolton at the hands of Kevin Davies, he lost his run of games in the team and failed to get back the consistency that was originally so promising. However, he’s already looked back at his performances so far this season in the Premier League, the Olympics, and on a international level for England – and is keen to improve.
“My season started with the Olympics, which was a great experience. Unfortunately we didn’t get a medal but it was good for me to play those games and I was pleased with my form there,” said Cleverley. “I managed to carry that form into the season with United and hopefully I’ve impressed the manager as well. I’ve also picked up three international caps, so it’s been a great start. Things have been going really well but I just want them to get even better. I want to keep playing, keep winning and hopefully start scoring.” For a creative midfielder, Cleverley’s shooting is certainly not his strongpoint and he was heavily criticised for missing a few easy changes in England’s match against Ukraine. It’s not the first time a United player has been used as a scapegoat for England, though..
The lack of goals don’t seem to worry Cleverley, who says he feels he’s played a deeper role in midfield this season, but he’s still keen to add his first goal for United in the first team. “I feel like I’ve played a little deeper,” he said. “I always watch the games back and I’ve noticed I’ve been intercepting and tackling a bit more than usual. I’ve been happy with that but that’s not something that’s going to affect my play. I just hope it’s something I’ve added to my game. I know I’ve got a few goals in me. Hopefully my first arrives soon. If the midfield can chip in with 30 goals this season it will be a massive help to the team.”
There’s no doubting Cleverley’s ability, and it’s obvious that the midfielder is keen to impress the manager – especially when, to put it politely, that area of the team needs a fair bit of work. Cleverley says he wants to impress everybody at United, from the manager to the fans. Last year there were rumours of a small fall-out between Sir Alex and the young midfielder over his absence against the loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, and although that might come through arrogance, it’s nice that Cleverley is confident in his ability and wants to play in the big games. “I’m always wanting to impress. I want to impress the fans, impress the manager, impress my teammates and impress myself. I look on it as another chance to play and another chance to win a trophy. Every game United play I want to play.”
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