Tom Cleverley has had his fair share of criticism; to such an extent that the Manchester United midfielder believes he had been made a scapegoat for the club’s recent struggles.
Speaking to the Mirror, the 24-year-old said, “When I first started getting singled out, it stung, yeah. But it’s something you’ve got to learnt to take when the team’s not doing well.
“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.”
People will have their own opinions when it comes to individual players and their performances. Fans of every club have their favourites and those they raise an eyebrow out whenever they are in the team. And while the very best are often above criticism, the rest ride the wave of adoration and infuriation that football fans can so quickly switch between.
In the same interview, Cleverley spoke about Spanish football, about how if a player in La Liga plays the ball sideways but keeps possession, he is applauded.
Thiago Alcantara will know that feeling, having only recently left Barcelona for Bayern Munich. The midfielder was long linked with a move to Old Trafford, during the reigns of both David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson before him.
But instead Thiago reunited with Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena and, after an initial injury setback, he has thrived.
He is now tipped as the future of Spanish football and a vital component of the new Bayern, his presence reportedly pushing the likes of Toni Kroos towards the exit and possibly towards Manchester.
But in his autobiography, Ferguson had the following to say about the then-Barca player:
“Our club was always capable of producing great players and Barcelona’s next wave were not better than ours. No way. Thiago was on a par with Welbeck and Cleverley but there was no fear about the rest of theirs coming through.”
So the next time United fans feel the need to criticise Cleverley, they should remember their greatest ever manager thought him just as good as a player now starring for arguably the greatest club side in the world.
Make of that what you will…
image: © eschipul