TOM Cleverley claims it has taken him 10 years to become an overnight sensation at Manchester United after being given an early-season opportunity to form part of the club’s new generation by Alex Ferguson.
Cleverley, named alongside Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in Fabio Capello’s England squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales, has been ever present this season, filling the void left by the retired Paul Scholes in which Ferguson had hoped to deploy Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder.
The 22-year-old’s energetic performances in midfield have helped bring about the club’s 100pc start to the campaign, including an 8-2 humiliation of Arsenal on Sunday.
Cleverley says: “I have been coming to Old Trafford for 10 years and have always looked on, thinking one day I want to be on the pitch. It is happening, but I have got to work hard and stay there.”
Cleverley’s impact even led to a banner being unfurled at West Bromwich Albion, stating ‘Who needs Wesley? We’ve got Cleverley’.