There is a lot of debate about whether Manchester United and England
midfielder Tom Cleverley is the answer to the problems that club and
The 23 year old has been a big part of Manchester United's pursuit of
a 20th league crown and has been ever present in Roy Hodgson's England
team since Euro 2012.
The critics don't see what Cleverley brings to the table. They believe
he is only in the England squad because he plays for Manchester
But if Sir Alex Ferguson has faith in the young midfielder and
continues to play him in the big games against the likes of Real
Madrid and Chelsea, then surely he can do a job for England.
The downsides seen in Cleverley's game is that he doesn't get enough
goals. So far this season, Cleverley has played 28 times for
Manchester United and only scored four goals, one was an over hit
cross which deceived Tim Krul and ended up in the back of the net.
With a lack of goals, Cleverley doesn't affect the game in the same
way as Frank Lampard does with his ability to score goals.
Another flaw seen in Cleverley's game is his vision. He keeps the ball
well but he doesn't have the kind of vision that Michael Carrick has
shown on numerous occasions this season. Carrick's pass to set up
Javier Hernandez to score a last minute winner against Newcastle or
his delightful reverse pass to set up Javier Hernandez in Manchester
United's 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the FA Cup.
His range of passing is not the same as the likes of Steven Gerrard or
Paul Scholes. Their ability to switch the play in an instant helps
their side unsettle defences and give them more of a chance to break
With people quick to criticise Cleverley's game, there is a lot of
positives he brings to the game.
His versatility is a huge bonus for both club and country. Cleverley
prefers to play in the middle, but his ability to adapt to any
situation in the game is a real plus. He has the ability to change
from a holding midfielder to playing out wide, being behind the
frontman to dropping deep and protecting the back four. Cleverley can
cover all areas across the midfield.
But Cleverley's main attribute is his ability to keep the ball. With
the game changing at European and International level, there is more
emphasis now on teams keeping possession.
England's problem when it's comes to major tournaments is there lack
of possession. Ball retention is vital in major tournaments, hence why
Spain have won the last three major tournaments. Teams like Spain,
Germany and Italy made the final four of Euro 2012 because they have
players that can keep the ball.
Cleverley's pass success rate is excellent, plus he is always
available and finds space easily around the pitch.
The game is changing and players like Cleverley are the future of the
game. If people like Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Hodgson believe in
Cleverley, then people should give him a chance.
With Cleverley turning 24 before the start of next season, he needs to
add to his game. Keeping possession is vital, but adding goals or
creating more chances, will see Cleverley held in a higher esteem.