Rising star: United youngster has world at his feet

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The new season could see Tom Cleverley begin to realise his potential as a Manchester United player, with the retirement of Paul Scholes potentially leaving the door open for the midfielder to stake his claim for a regular starting berth.

Cleverley won plenty of plaudits for numerous cultured displays while on loan with Wigan during the last campaign, with the Latics desperate to bring him back to the DW Stadium.

Sir Alex Ferguson, however, is keen to have 21-year-old back among his ranks once more, and the United boss has hinted Cleverley could have an important role to play next term.

And, while he has been touted as possible long-term replacement for Scholes, the England Under 21 international actually models his game on another former United star.

The man in question is David Beckham, who Cleverley admired from a far, when the former Real Madrid man was at Old Trafford.

Cleverley, however, may be afforded the opportunity to play against his idol as United take on the MLS All-Stars late tonight, and the youngster is hoping to realise a long-held ambition.

"If I play, it will be the first time I've played against him," he said. "It's a bit of a dream. I always watched him from an early age and watched his game - I used to try and watch him play and take things from his game and put them into mine."


Cleverley does, however, still look to Scholes for inspiration, and cites the 36-year-old as a big influence on his fledgling United career. "I learned about his awareness more than anything," Cleverley added.

"He could control games so well, too. It was quality to watch. The way he switches the ball and controls the tempo is amazing.

"I think awareness is a big part of being a central midfielder. Just look at Scholesy, [Frank] Lampard, Xavi... their heads are always on a swivel.

"They know where their players are and where the opposition players are. They always know what they're going to do next.

"Also, having a wide range of passing is important and the ability to score goals from central midfield is also a rare talent these days."

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Premier League
Manchester United
Tom Cleverley

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