Manchester United’s midfield has been yearning for a creative spark since legendary Paul Scholes drew curtains on his Old Trafford career. A young boy named Thomas William “Tom” Cleverley was or as matter of fact is expected to step in the massive shoes of Ginger Prince as the conductor of Manchester United orchestra.
The Basingstoke born midfielder has an uncanny resemblance to the midfield maestro as both of them are academy graduates who broke into the first team of Manchester United. Such was the promise shown by the young Tom in his academy days that he was tipped to fill in the void that would be eventually created by absence of Paul Scholes. This prompted the club hierarchy to give him a professional contract in summer of 2008.
Then 18-year-old Cleverley was farmed out on loan to clubs like Leicester, Watford and Wigan Athletic. His spells at Watford and Wigan were laudable which eventually led him to first team call up in 2011. An impressive but injury marred debut season gave glimpses of bright and exciting future. A stellar preseason and a fruitful 2012/13 campaign where he played his role in the side with aplomb which romped to historic 20th league title. He justified the faith that was placed on him by then boss Sir Alex Ferguson. But a torrid 2013/14 season gave all his detractors the required ammunition to malign the lad. The level of criticism was such that the midfield prodigy had to walk away from social media space by deleting his Twitter account.
With reports of interest from Everton, the speculation is rife that the midfielder may be shown the door. Here in lies the question. Should we sell him?
There is no doubt about the talent that he possesses. He may not be a world beater but he is no muck either. His potential is something which is too good to ignore. Of his three full seasons at Old Trafford he has had only one miserable season and that was the season where the squad in its entirety failed to perform. Call it Moyes effect or whatever but singling out Cleverley as the major disappointment of the season is not fair to the lad.
There’s a popular opinion amongst many Old Trafford faithful that we’re better off by selling him. I somehow am not able to digest the thought. The club is undergoing major squad revamp and investing a significant amount on a squad player when you already have players who fit the bill. This isn’t smart piece of business by any sense as there are other areas in the squad which need strengthening as well.
The young midfielder’s development has been stunted by injuries in early stages of his career. He may well be a late bloomer as it has been case with many players. Patience is the key to success and in case of Tom Cleverley truckloads of it is required. The signing of Ander Herrera is perfect for Cleverley to prove his mettle. The England international may not be a regular starter as of now or in foreseeable future. We however forget the importance of squad players. He can be a valuable squad player. The Bradford boy provides right kind of quality for a squad player to endure rigours of a long season.
Anderson and Nick Powell are other options in creative midfield department but both of them are dicey propositions. The former has fitness issues while the latter is still far from being Premier League material. Also he needs regular game time in order to continue his development which is difficult for him to get at United. Thus, making him and the Brazilian unsuitable for the job.
The Englishman deserves a couple of seasons at the Theatre of Dreams. He is about to enter his best years so there is no harm in keeping him as he can beneficial both on and off the pitch.
This article was written by Vatsal Dani, who is part of our Academy writing team. Please make your comment on this article if you agree or disagree with the comments raised in this article.