Brian McClair feels that Tom Cleverley has not yet played his last Manchester United match

Manchester United’s Academy manager Brian McClair has revealed that Tom Cleverley could yet return to the Old Trafford club. Cleverley was loaned out to Aston Villa on transfer deadline day, which for some signalled the fact that manager Louis van Gaal thought the former England international did not have a place in his squad, which was also the thoughts of sections of the clubs supporters after seeing the player regress during recent seasons. The arrival of Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind during the summer edges a few players from last season out of their roles at the club, and rightly so.

Cleverley would have been nothing more than a fringe player at the club this season, and with the fact they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the second round and the FA Cup not starting until January, it was unlikely that he would have played in any first team matches. The best Cleverley could have hoped for was to play in the U21 league as an overage outfield player, for which the side is allowed three in each game, plus an overage goalkeeper, or seek a loan move, which he did and has ensured that he will still play Barclays Premier League football this season.


Last month Cleverley conceded that he had probably played his last match for Manchester United, yet Academy manager Brian McClair seems to thing differently. McClair seems to think the 25-year-old could resurrect his career at the Theatre of Dreams, which considering the performances he has put in with Villa, it could be a possibility, but a long shot at that. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, McClair said:

“You don’t know what’s going to happen because he’s only on loan at Villa. I think he’s a good player.

“He came from Bradford when he was 12. At 16 we didn’t offer him a scholarship.

“He stayed at school and he worked as hard he possibly could, while still at school and at the end of that two-year period, because he had developed more physically, he had a professional contract.

“He’s gone on from that to represent his country and to play many games in the Premier League.”

A few years ago, Cleverley was tipped to be the long-term replacement for Paul Scholes, who retired at the end of the 2010/11 season, only to come back out of retirement in January 2012 returning to face local rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup, with the red side of Manchester winning that match. Cleverley was also an England regular under Roy Hodgson during the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but he was not selected for the finals of the tournament, of which England were eliminated during the group stages. A poor season under David Moyes at United last season saw Cleverley lose his England place and he also became a target for United supporters which resulted in the player closing is Twitter account.

At a stage last season, more than 10,000 people signed an online petition to ban the midfielder from Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad, which was pretty immature as online petitions really have no end product and would not have affected the England managers decision, which was probably already made anyway. Speaking in the Telegraph last month, Cleverley revealed that he did not think he would ever play for Manchester United again, which was something many of the clubs supporters were happy about. Cleverley had the world at his feet after a successful loan spell with Wigan Athletic a few years back, but he really did nothing to develop himself, and I hope his spell with Aston Villa helps him find his feet again so he can get his career back on track. Cleverley said:

“If I’m honest I don’t think I’d play for the club again.

“The manager made it clear I was not going to play every week at United.

“It was a tough season for us last year.

“If all the players say they were high in confidence last season I think they would be lying.

“It wasn’t just me. It was the rest of the squad too, that rubs off on the fans, too.

“I am happy to get away from some of the negativity that surrounded me at Manchester United.

“If any footballer gets a bit of stick off their own fans they are going to be hurt, but it has made me strong as a character.

“For as long as United aren’t winning trophies, players will get criticised, I’m fully aware of that.

“I’ve still got a league title and 13 England caps. You don’t turn into a bad player just because someone says it on Twitter.”

Many of the clubs supporters feel that Cleverley could become a decent player, but with the quality that United have signed this summer, with more to come hopefully in January and next summer, Cleverley would not get back into the United team, unless he proved himself to be better than the likes of Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind, which is a long shot. He will go on to have a decent career in football, hopefully playing at the top of his game elsewhere. It was pretty much unfair for him to be singled out for United’s demise last season as there were only a few players that could actually hold their heads up high, for me it was David De Gea and Adnan Januzaj that were the inspiration in a lacklustre season. Blaming Cleverley for everything was wrong, each player and the manager at the time needed their own share of the blame, but I guess that is modern football for you.


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