Tom Cleverley hasn’t started for Manchester United or England since the Sept. 1, but it could be just the thing he needed.
The midfielder, now 24, has watched the majority of the last three games his club and country has been involved in from the bench, but it may help him to improve.
Cleverley was beginning to become a regular in the United line up, even when Sir Alex Ferguson was in control last season, and that quickly translated to the same situation for the England team. Although there was competition for places, it seemed Cleverley had fairly comfortably slotted in as a regular.
Despite what people say, Cleverley is a great talent. However, they are correct when they say he is lacking that special something. I feel it is there inside him, but it hasn’t yet developed within his performances. Having been dropped to the bench recently, he may now feel the need to up his game. It is inevitable that he will be on his toes at every opportunity when David Moyes plays him now. Marouane Fellaini has signed for the club, meaning there is new competition for that midfield slot alongside Michael Carrick. It could be the thing Cleverley needs, something to make him realize he still needs to improve and be hungry to be a better, more effective player.
A lot of what Cleverley does goes unnoticed, but it is very good work. His passing and ability to change the play into a fast moving attack is underrated, but it’s no surprise when he is on a team of world class talents and alongside one of the best passers in the world. He needs to add more to his game still, perhaps some drive to push forward with the ball, rather than his need to play it to someone else’s feet immediately. Paul Scholes could pass all day long, but when the space was ahead of him he wouldn’t waste it, he would attack it. This short, but perhaps important, period could push Cleverley on further. I hope it does, because he is still young and still a seriously impressive talent.