Manchester United’s midfield has been a problem for the best part of five years.
Paul Scholes, despite his injuries and age, had helped paper over the cracks and became such a missing figure that he was asked by Sir Alex Ferguson to come out of retirement. Now the quiet man from Salford has officially hung up his boots, his presence has clearly been missed.
Manchester United’s supporters have been treated to fast, counter attacking football for the best part of twenty years and seeing players such as Ronaldo and Rooney break from midfield at such pace was a delight to watch.
Nowadays United are playing a much-slower, conservative type of football with David Moyes’ number one midfield partnership consisting of Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick.
Despite Cleverley completing 90.1% of his 1,000 passes this season – the second best ratio in the squad – the 24-year-old has been labelled by supporters as a ‘weak link’, to which Cleverley replied in an exclusive interview with The Mirror:
“When I first started getting singled out, it stung, yeah, but it’s something you have got to learn to take when the team is not doing well.”
“My job goes under the radar at times. I am not a player who’s going to beat three or four people and stick it in the top corner or go round tackling people like Roy Keane.”
“I feel I’ve been made a scapegoat a little bit. A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I know I can do better but people are making a big thing about how I don’t score enough goals when that is not necessarily my first job in the team.”
“I watch Spanish football a lot. If they pass the ball sideways but keep possession, the fans clap them.”
Unfortunately for Tom Cleverley, his own admission that his first job isn’t to be creative or score goals – reflected by scoring just one Premier League goal all season – has not gone down well with a few of the Manchester United supporters.
Here are a few responses to Cleverley’s interview from social networking site twitter:
Cleverley compared his style of play with La Liga players. "They pass sideways, keep possession and fans clap them." But you're crap, Tom.— Jonny. (@jonnysfootyblog) febrero 11, 2014
@jonnysfootyblog The thing that annoyed me most was 'sideways passes get clapped in Spain', yes Tom that's because there's an end product.— footballTIKA (@footballTIKA) febrero 11, 2014
@TEAMtalk he's useless. Not a defensive midfielder and not an attacking/goal scoring midfield. Simply fills a shirt for a united.— Martin Dunning (@Martinjdunning) febrero 11, 2014
So both Fletcher and Cleverley have said this week that scoring/creating goals is not their job in our side.— BeautifullyRed (@BeautifullyRed) febrero 11, 2014
Enlightening interview with Tom Cleverley. Almost writes off tackling, dribbling and shooting from his own skill-set.— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) febrero 11, 2014
You'd think Cleverley was trying to 'pass' the buck, but as usual he fails— Zar (@unknownsock_zar) febrero 11, 2014
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