It’s a hell of a wrap to put on a 20 year old but Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced that midfielder Tom Cleverley will develop into the long term replacement of Manchester United legend Paul Scholes. In what was possibly the best news to come out of Old Trafford this week, Ferguson has confirmed that Cleverley will not be loaned out as has been generally expected saying that “Tom has got outstanding qualities as far as goalscoring is concerned, so he is going to stay”
The England Under 21 international was a long term loan target for Newcastle, Wigan and Bolton after Ferguson had earlier indicated he would release the youngster. Cleverley’s form during pre season however has convinced the United boss to hang onto last season’s Watford loan star. He was sent out to Vicarage Road to pick up first team experience and responded by hitting 11 goals in 33 games and voted player of the year
“The days of expecting Scholes to score 15 goals a season have gone now” Sir Alex admitted “Tom’s an exceptional young player in the sense of his ability to play in different positions. He is such a mobile boy who can play wide on either side and in central midfield. He also showed last season that he has a good eye for goals from midfield which we need”
There’s little doubt that Ferguson has a future England international on his hands, not that this should be considered of great importance at the moment and the manager is right to expect some payback for all the time invested in the youngster by the coaching staff at Carrington. While much of United’s support will cry out for a star name like a Mesut Ozil or Sergio Aguero to come into the squad, maybe Ferguson is right to consider Cleverley, Federico Macheda and his many other youngsters as not only cheaper but viable alternatives.
With Michael Carrick missing for a fortnight after hurting his ankle in Dublin, Ferguson is short of options in midfield. Anderson is still sidelined and Owen Hargreaves has remained in the United States for treatment amid genuine fears for his career. Darron Gibson has done well in that area but Cleverley could provide additional support.
Meanwhile Ferguson has confirmed young strikers Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf are both set to go out on loan. Although the United manager did not state where the players would go, it is believed Welbeck will go to Sunderland and Diouf to Blackburn, with their respective deals currently being thrashed out.
And they’re not the only future treasures Sir Alex has available. There is more prodigious talent further along the production line in the shape of Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison, Joshua King, Magnus Eikrem and William Keane Then there is Matt James who captained England Under 19s in the European tournament even though he’s playing another season at Preston.
It’s a nice position for United to be in but how long would it be before some of the fans got restless if the youngsters’ form suffers the inevitable dip? As one pundit famously said ‘You’ll win nothing with kids’ and maybe that will ring true next season even if it proved embarrassingly wrong all those years ago. Sir Alex and the fans must be seriously weighing up that question.
Is Ferguson right in using the talent available in his production line?
Related post: Youngster Tom Cleverley has future at Old Trafford