Cleverley backs English youngsters to come good

Manchester United player claims the 'unbelievable' talent in Under-21 squad offers hope for the future

Tom Cleverley claims the hand-wringing over a lack of young English talent is unfair. The Manchester United midfielder was told by Sir Alex Ferguson last week that he would be staying at Old Trafford after initial indications that a loan move was more likely. Ferguson's decision came on the back of some outstanding performances on United's pre-season tour of North America and Cleverley has now followed up with an excellent display in England Under-21's 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night.

At a time when the focus is on England's young players like never before, with the lack of depth made so painfully obvious by call-ups for Scott Loach and Frankie Fielding as goalkeeping back-up to Joe Hart for last night's friendly against Hungary, Cleverley is a beacon of hope. Yet the Bradford-raised youngster, who celebrates his 21st birthday today, does not believe the situation is quite as bad as it seems.

"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 is clearly intent on making a significant mark this season, even though he accepts that a Carling Cup tie next month probably represents his first realistic chance to start a game for United. He accepts that remaining at Old Trafford will cut drastically the number of games he can expect to play.

But, having earned Watford's Player of the Year award after an excellent spell with the Championship club, he feels the benefit this season will come from working with top-class talent on a daily basis.

"I do feel one game at United is worth five 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."

With a European Under-21 Championship double-header against Portugal and Lithuania to come, when maximum points will be essential if England are either to overturn Greece at the top of Group Nine or, more realistically, claim one of the four runner-up berths that will give access to October's play-offs, Cleverley has plenty to occupy his mind.

But the focus never drifts too far from United and the targets he has set himself for the coming campaign. "Playing for Manchester United is a big thing," he said. "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."

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone