Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has been showing signs that he is ready to cement his place in England's midfield with some good performances this season.
With the likes of Frank Lampard, Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard approaching the end of their careers, this may be the time for some young players to step up and show that they are ready to take over the midfield for England.
For many years Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Steven Gerrard, Owen Hargreaves and Frank Lampard have been the names that are seen in the English midfield. There is no doubt that they are excellent players in their own right but the time has come for a new set of players to step in.
In recent years the English team have been criticized for the lack of a midfield that is capable of keeping the ball and that they always play long passes. There was also a debate on whether Lampard and Gerrard can play together in the centre of midfield as they are similar type of players.
However in the recent World Cup qualifying campaign, England manager Roy Hodgson has selected many youngsters who have been entrusted to take England to the next World Cup in Brazil. One player that has been a constant in the English set up has been Man United's Tom Cleverley.
Cleverley has progressed through the youth academy of Manchester United and finally broke into the first team in the 2011/12 season. He had a great preseason and made his intentions clear for a place in the first team in the Community Shield against Manchester City.
He was a half-time substitute coming into the game when the Red Devils were losing 2-0. Cleverley changed the game with his quick, precise passing and high work rate and was a catalyst for Man United coming out 3-2 winners.
After the Community Shield Sir Alex Ferguson said that after that performance he definitely knew who would be in his midfield come the start of the season. Cleverley formed a great partnership with Anderson in the middle of the park and they blew their opponents away.
They used the ball very well, moved it quickly and no one was able to keep up with the pace at which the United midfield was playing. His season was however interrupted by an injury sustained after a hard tackle from Kevin Davies and he suffered a ligament damage.
He never really recovered from that injury and his partnership ended with Anderson which lead to a series of poor results for United which also saw them being ousted from the Champions League in the group stages.
Cleverley however seemed to have put that behind him as he took park in Olympics 2012 held in London. He impressed in the tournament but was unable to get a medal for Team Great Britain.
Cleverley started this season (2012/13) well and even added a new dimension to his game -he started to score goals. He has formed a great partnership with Michael Carrick in the United midfield and has been the only player to play in all of the World Cup qualifiers so far for England.
He has been used in a deep lying role as well as the playmaking role behind the striker in the absence of Wayne Rooney. He has grabbed his chances with both hands and have surely booked his ticket to Brazil in 2014 provided that he stays healthy and England makes it to the tournament.
Cleverley has the playing style of a Spanish player as he passes really well, moves off the ball expertly, makes space for himself and doesn't seem to give the ball away. He works really hard for the team and does the simple things really well. The English fans may hope that he can form a great partnership with Jack Wilshere in the future as they are players who can keep the ball and use it quite well.
Despite being a mainstay in the England team, Cleverley is yet to score for his country. That may be the only part of his game that needs to improve at the moment. At the age of 23, there is still a lot for him to learn and that will come with more experience at the club level and more experience playing on the international stage. He is however blessed to be training with Paul Scholes at Old Trafford so he can learn from one of the best central midfielders that has ever played in an England shirt.
There are many young players with promise that can help England improve going forward. Cleverley and Wilshere may be assisted by Jack Rodwell, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey in the midfield department in the years to come. However at the moment Cleverley and Wilshere are the ones who are getting the opportunity to play for their country as well as learn from the likes of Gerrard, Carrick and Lampard when they are in training with the England team.
There is still alot to do to get to World Cup 2014 in Brazil but, if Cleverley should maintain his form for club and country then there is a great hope for England in the future. His silky passing and work ethic is a great asset for any team and he surely will be in the England set up for many years.
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