Fabregas: United 'scapegoat' Cleverley has talent, like Wilshere

Maligned midfielder has been backed by former Arsenal captain and current Barcelona star.

Manchester United's underwhelming campaign thus far, together with the various flaws that have sparked acknowledgment over a mass rebuilding campaign, have encumbered the shoulders of Tom Cleverley, a midfielder who believes he feels the weight of any criticisms more due to apparent scapegoating.

Earlier this week he told The Mirror: 'When I first started getting singled out, it stung 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. I watch Spanish football a lot. If they pass the ball sideways but keep possession, the fans clap them. Their attitude is that as long as you have got the ball, the other team can't hurt you.'

PlayerTouchesTotal Pass Acc PassPass LeftPass RightDispAppsMins
Cleverley 66.58 54.89 49.21 15.74 18.05 0.89 19 1,449

Cleverley has a 90% passing accuracy, enjoys many touches on the ball per game on average and is rarely dispossessed. It is arguably statistics such as these, combined with his recent comments regarding Spanish football, that has alerted Cesc Fabregas to the midfielder, who believes that - like Arsenal star Jack Wilshere and Cleverley's United team-mate Daniel Welbeck - he has obvious talent.

'I have seen youngsters like Wilshere, Cleverley and Welbeck play and they have got talent,' he said to Sky Sports. 'That's the thing England have been missing over the years - talent. They have got a great group of boys with amazing talent and they have to take advantage of that.'

image: © joncandy

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