While Wigan were shooting themselves in the foot with their lack of discipline at Old Trafford on Saturday, young Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley was sitting in the stands wondering what his future held. Being on loan to Wigan meant Premier League rules prevented him from taking his place in the visitor’s line up. It must have left him wondering if the absence of Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs, Anderson and Owen Hargreaves through injury may have provided an opportunity for him to be given a place in the United midfield.
Writing in the United match day programme Cleverley admitted that “Maybe with hindsight things would’ve been different but I just want to get my head down and do well for Wigan. I’ve got to take things as they’ve come. It’s always going to be tough for a young player coming through the ranks to break into the United first team” he said “but I feel like I’m progressing every year and right now I feel as ready as I’ve ever been to make my debut for Manchester United and take my chance.”
The highly promising midfielder has had to contend with his own injuries since his loan move to Wigan at the start of the season “It’s been a bit stop start for me at Wigan” he confessed “I feel like I thrive when I’m playing regularly. It’s been a little bit frustrating being in and out of the team and being part of the rotation, but it’s understandable.”
“When I’ve played I think I’ve done well” he continued “hopefully I’ll get a run of games between now and Christmas. It’s all good experience. I’ve never worked under a foreign manager before so it’s nice to sample. Roberto knows football inside out, he’s teaching me things, I’m experiencing being in Premier League squads every week – it’s good for me.”
At this stage of his career, Cleverley has complete trust in his United boss to shape his future “I’m happy to do whatever Sir Alex Ferguson wants of me. If he calls me back in January I’d be delighted because he’s got plans to use me but on the other hand, if he wants me to get more experience with Wigan then I’d also be happy to do that.”
With the number of midfield injuries that hit United so far this season there can be little doubt that the young man would have been a valuable member of the engine room. Who knows, the calls from United fans for Ferguson to go into the transfer market for a midfielder in January will not be quite so loud – despite Cleverley’s tender years, Sir Alex has already got one.
Should Ferguson recall Cleverley from Wigan in January?