Has Tom Cleverley missed his ‘Big Chance’ at United?

Tom Cleverley was dropped in Manchester United’s last league match in favour of Wayne Rooney.

It’s been a big season for Tom Cleverley as he’s made 20 Premier League appearances in a side that has wrestled back domestic dominance from Manchester City.

The 23-year-old started the season with a huge chance to cement his place in the United midfield and become a long term replacement for Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in the middle of the team.

He’s played admirably but his inconsistency mixed in with the pressure of expectation at the club has seen him be dropped, which may lead many to think that he could have missed his chance to stop Sir Alex Ferguson signing another midfielder this summer.

Cleverley has really struggled in the recent past in terms of his fitness and he’s looked fatigued which seems to be the reason he’s been dropped from the side. In total he’s made 43 appearances in matches this season for club and country.

However, fear of burnout is something which plagues all of the top sides and this recent decision on the part of Ferguson could be a subtle message to the youngster that he needs to try a little bit harder.

He shouldn’t be out of the side for too long because in terms of his technique and the way he controls the ball, he’s good enough to be a United squad player for the rest of his career.

That in itself is the problem because United need someone who is going to nail down a central midfield role and at the moment Michael Carrick seems to be the only player capable of doing that.

Cleverley needs to become so much more than just a squad player and he’s now under big pressure for the rest of the season, in terms of the way he goes about his role and performances in the team.

If he shows the same sporadic effect that he’s displayed recently, Ferguson will have no choice but to go and sign someone like Kevin Strootman or Nemanja Matic because he needs to have that level of security in the middle of his team.

Cleverley will definitely benefit from his role and experience so far this season because he’s featured in some big matches, most notably against Real Madrid in the Champions League.

However, if he plays the way he played against Chelsea in the recent FA Cup clash between the clubs, then he could find it very difficult to justify why he deserves a starting role over any other central player at United.

He’s a very young man so the issue of burnout is an excuse for his absence in the team rather than the reason for it. Ferguson is sending him a message.

That message is simply that if he blows his next big chance in the United team, then he’s probably not going to get another one because United need and demand the very best players, not passengers riding on the back of quality from other stars.

What do you make of his season?

image: © eschipul

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch