'Tom Cleverley is as good a talent as there is in the English game'

Roberto Martinez has sprung to the defence of Manchester United's Tom Cleverley.

Under-fire Manchester United boss David Moyes has not yet had anything to say on the barrage of criticism aimed at Tom Cleverley, perhaps he has enough to deal with on his own.

But the manager who replaced Moyes at Goodison Park has been sticking up for the Manchester United midfielder.

Roberto Martinez managed Cleverley at Wigan where he took him on loan for a season, and finds the recent petition to ban him from Roy Hodgson's England squad astounding.

"What has happened is not Tom's fault, I think he is as good a talent as we have in the English game, and he is still growing.

"You wouldn't get this in other countries, and I find it disappointing that he is being judged so aggressively when he has not even reached 200 games. Such a young player does not need that sort of scrutiny or pressure, but I am sure he will come through it and be even more motivated."

Cleverley, who has been at United since he was 12, spent the 2010/11 season at Wigan where he bagged four goals in 24 games under Martinez.

That was after scoring 11 goals for Watford in The Championship a season before. When Cleverley arrived back from Wigan he displayed form which saw him hailed as some sort of saviour for United's midfield, only for injuries to hamper his progress, and over the past two seasons when he has had chances he has repeatedly failed to seize them.

Other comments from Martinez include claiming he is one of the few players who wouldn't look out of place in Italy, Holland or Spain - citing his technical ability as his standout qualities.

There is one other technically gifted player at Manchester United who is struggling badly under David Moyes, in Shinji Kagawa.

Could it be with a different manager at United, who has a more continental approach to the game, that Tom Cleverley would begin to thrive again?

image: © joncandy

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