Montenegro v England: Tom Cleverley prepared for hostile reception

England play the group leaders on Tuesday

No matter what Montenegro holds in store for Tom Cleverley tomorrow night - it will have to go some to be as frenzied as the atmosphere he experienced at Galatasaray.

The 23-year-old midfielder has been on a pretty steep learning curve over the past 18 months, first forcing his way into the Manchester United side on a regular basis and now an ever-present for England this season.

A World Cup qualifier in Podgorica's cramped national stadium represents another significant test for Cleverley.

But he is unlikely to be intimidated after experiencing a Champions League night in Turkey.

"Every game seems to have been the biggest one for me recently," he said.

"The last couple of weeks have been fantastic for me.

"But I don't think you could get a much better atmosphere than Galatasaray away so I do have experience of these games away from home in hostile places."

Two points adrift of Montenegro ahead of their final World Cup qualifier until September, England cannot afford to lose.

To that end, their chances would be improved considerably if Wayne Rooney managed to avoid a repeat of the red card he was shown in the corresponding fixture during qualification for Euro 2012.

"He will just prepare the same way and want to win like everyone else," said Cleverley.

"Wayne is a good character to have around for club and country.

"He gives you constructive things, offers you advice and tells you if he wants a bit more."

There have also been words of encouragement from an unexpected source given it is widely assumed club boss Sir Alex Ferguson's stark warning led to Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal, which stirred up so much controversy.

"He does wish us luck," said Cleverley.

"He obviously wants us to play well so we will gain confidence for when we go back to our clubs."

Another long-serving United employee will have an influence on proceedings too.

It might be nearly nine years since the last of Paul Scholes' 64 caps but he remains a significant figure in the careers of so many members of Roy Hodgson's squad.

As a fellow midfielder, Cleverley is one of them, even if lessons are learned through deed rather than word.

"It is more watch and learn with Scholesy rather than speaking to him," he said.

"He is one of the best in the world at keeping the ball - and has been for many years.

"But it is not only about keeping the ball, you can keep it as long as you want playing passes sideways 10 yards.

"A big part of Scholesy's game is hurting teams as well. You need that in your game at this level.

"He is a great person and a great example for me to have around."

PA

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