Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughTom Cleverley – The Missing Link - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Tom Cleverley – The Missing Link - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Tom Cleverley – The Missing Link

It was the curtain raiser, the showpiece of the English football season in 2011 where city rivals, Manchester United and City clashed at Wembley in the Community Shield. City started strongly and were 2-0 up at the break. Sir Alex Ferguson made a couple of changes but one of them in particular stood out. Tom Cleverley.

He kick started United in from the middle of the park with vision and movement that United fans have failed to see since the younger days of Paul Scholes. It was expected that Ferguson would sign a ‘big name signing’ in the summer to replace Scholes who had retired. Nasri, Schweinsteiger and Wesley Sneijder were all options for Ferguson but he decided against it and in the early part of the season this decision was justified.

The partnership of Tom Cleverley and Anderson was flourishing in the middle of the park with both men seeming to be on one another’s wavelengths. Confident victories against West Brom and Spurs to begin the season before United went to Bolton. It was a comfortable victory for the Red Devil’s but it came at a cost. They would be without Cleverley for what now seems up until the New Year. At the time the brunt of his loss was not felt. United kept scoring goals and winning games. Fletcher slotted in along side Anderson with Ryan GIggs and Michael Carrick in reserve.

Cleverley’s injury saw a nosedive in form from Anderson. He can’t seem to play as well with Fletcher, Carrick or Giggs as he does alongside the young Englishman. The Brazilian would play within himself. This is stark contrast to his early season form when he was box to box, assisting and looking like a real driving force in midfield. Carrick had taken his place in the last couple of weeks and the former Porto man is now another player sitting on the operating table for the foreseeable future.

Manchester United have struggled in recent weeks. This was before the beating they took at the hands of Manchester City. They struggled at home to Norwich and have looked worn out and out of ideas in the Champions League. City sit five points clear of United at the moment and some kind of driving force needs to be found. The squad needs some kind of energy boost and Cleverley’s hoped return within the next four to six weeks could be all the Red Bull they need.

The boy that had earned rave reviews whilst on loan at Leicester City, Watford and Wigan Athletic in the last two seasons. Roberto Martinez spoke highly of him as have every manager that have worked with him before. Ferguson knows he has a gem in Cleverley and he could be as a big of a player as Scholes was at the Theatre of Dreams if his pre season and early season form was anything to go by. The injury will have knocked him but he can get back up and start where he left off, it looks like he has that mentality and it is wonderful to see.

With Cleverley out the exciting United of the early season has fallen to a laboured side grinding out results. They have been formidable yet suspect with creativity being left down to Wayne Rooney. He tries and has even tried from the centre of the pitch but there is only so much one man can do. Nani and Young have also been poor recently. Cleverley gave all these players room to work in, creativity to feed on and a hunger and a passion to emulate. The sooner he is back to full fitness, the weak central midfield of Manchester United will be no longer talked about. It will be good for Ferguson and United and could probably help England and Capello.

Mark Young @markyoung1988




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