Tom Cleverley must fight for Manchester United spot

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Tom Cleverley has endured a nightmare year at Manchester United since claiming his first Premier League title with the club in 2013. 

The central-midfielder, who is now 24-years-old, failed to make an impact for club and country in 2013/14, and was made a scapegoat by the majority of fans. 

When it was suggested that the United man was heading to the World Cup, a petition was created - and signed by thousands - to stop him going to Brazil. Ultimately, the fans won: Cleverley didn't go to this summer's World Cup. In truth, he didn't really miss much, but as fans from all around the country continue to get on his back, just where does he go from here? 

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Manchester United 

Many Manchester United fans will just be hoping that he goes anywhere...anywhere that isn't Old Trafford. Much like England fans, the United faithful haven't taken to his performances over the last 12-months.

It's hardly surprising that Cleverley, along with his fellow midfielders, put in a number of inconsistent performances last season, as the Red Devils had a year to forget. United consequently ended in seventh place in the Premier League, and Cleverley and Co. took a fair share of the blame. 


But why was it such a struggle for Cleverley to impress? After all, in recent years he's had the backing of Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Hodgson (pre World Cup). He's put on some fine displays in his past: two against Manchester City come to mind.

Against City - way back in 2011 - Cleverley helped turn the game on its head as he arrived on the pitch at the start of the second half to turn a 2-0 defeat into a 3-2 victory. Granted that was in the Community Shield, but his performance against them in December of 2012 was once again extremely admirable as Ferguson's team yet again claimed a 3-2 victory. And, even Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been linked with a move for him. He's clearly done something right...

Why, then, as the midfielder should be embarking upon the prime of his career is he struggling so much? Confidence - or a lack of it - must be hurting his form. Over the last 12 months, he's been seemingly afraid to do anything slightly different with the ball - he's been afraid to run with it, and has rarely tried to play a pass through an opposition defence. 

A lack of first team football hasn't helped his cause as well. In-and-out of a team can't do anyone any favours: especially when his side have been struggling for an identity.


Perhaps it's an identity that Cleverley needs. He needs to find himself within the Manchester United midfield, and must start believing in himself. It's time to step up and come out of hiding. 

Cleverley does have potential, but he must forget about his critics and look to prove people wrong. Take Aaron Ramsey: the Gunners ace came under intensifying pressure from his own fans in 2012/13, but he hit back in spectacular fashion last season. Cleverley must now follow in the Welshman's footsteps. 

With Louis van Gaal now in charge at Old Trafford, Cleverley has one last chance to prove himself. He has to take his opportunity next season and help United return to the summit of the Premier League table. 

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Manchester United
Tom Cleverley
Premier League

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