Is Tom Cleverley good enough to replace Paul Scholes?

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley says he feels inspired to take over Paul Scholes’ role for club and country.

Tom Cleverley has had it tough this season. He’s been thrown in at the deepest of deep ends by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and at times, he’s struggled to keep his head above water.

He is a top class talent and will have a long United career but the links surrounding possible replacements for Paul Scholes don’t seem about to go away any time soon, which suggests a lot of people don’t think he’s good enough to follow the Old Trafford legend.

There are plenty of elements to Scholes’ game which Cleverley can learn from and if he replicates them, he’ll leave United with no need to go and buy in another complete midfielder to add to the squad.

It’s the basic elements of the game that Cleverley needs to improve if he wants to be like Scholes. He’s a young player who gives the ball away a hell of a lot more than he should, which simply builds the pressure on his team.

One of the most reliable things about Scholes throughout his career, has been his ability to keep the ball and move it on quickly and easily. Even now he rarely seems to play a ball over ten yards.

It’s the physical side of the game where Cleverley has to improve to match Scholes as well. Scholes has never been afraid to stick his foot in, with an ugly challenge that breaks up the play.

Cleverley is not quite there yet. He still has some work to do in terms of strength and he still needs to add a little bit in terms of bulk. If he gets that side of his game sorted, he won’t be brushed off the ball and he should retain possession for longer.

He has mentioned following Scholes in an international sense as well as at club level, but he’ll never have that chance at international level if he can’t make himself indispensible to United in the first place.

If Cleverley can get into the United side for the remaining games of the season and if he can hurt teams in the same way that Scholes has done, he will quickly find himself consolidating one of those central roles.

That will have a massive positive effect for United ahead of the summer because it will mean they don’t have to worry about trying to bring in another midfield, diverting funds and attention elsewhere.

Is he good enough to follow Scholes? Yes he is, he has all of the right attributes, he’s just lacking a little quality and consistency.

United fans, what have you made of Cleverley’s season?

image: © eschipul

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