Manchester United fans: Cut Cleverley some slack

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Football News

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley's continued presence in the starting XI has been met with widespread condemnation amongst Red Devils fans, but do the youngster's performances really warrant such derision?

Cleverley felt the full force of the Twitter trolls following last weekend's 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, particularly after failing to shut down Sandro as he smashed in a screamer from distance.

"Tom Cleverley is like that kid on your Sunday league team who got picked every week just because his dad was the manager," was just one response from the social media mob during that clash.

United fans may be disappointed that David Moyes failed to land any of his targets in the problem playmaker position last summer, but Cleverley does not deserve to bare the brunt of that ill feeling.

The 24-year-old actually had very favourable statistics in possession on Sunday, successfully completing the most passes in the final third of any player on the pitch with 16 from 18 attempted finding their intended target.

A total pass completion rate of 88% also puts his midfield colleague Phil Jones in the shade, alongside a 100% tackle success rate and the most ball recoveries of any United player on the park.

Cleverley may not have hit the heights his early promise suggested at Old Trafford, but he continues to work tirelessly in a midfield area where United are experiencing a transitional period to say the least.

United fans need only look up the Premier League table at leaders Arsenal for a player reborn after finding form and confidence.

Gunners star Aaron Ramsey has played his way into a sustained spell of success over the last 12 months and now looks every inch the all-action midfield supremo, despite having his first-team credentials questioned by Arsenal fans for much of 2012.

Ramsey's had the unquestionable faith of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger during a prolonged spell of patchy form, a stance Cleverley hopes Moyes will replicate this season.

The England international has already featured 18 times for club and country this term, which would suggest Moyes and Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson believe that he will come good given time.

Whether Cleverley makes the grade at Old Trafford remains to be seen, but he needs to be backed rather than hammered while he remains part of the manager's plans.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Tom Cleverley

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