Once touted as the replacement for Paul Scholes, Tom Cleverley has failed to live up to his bidding ever since he started playing for Manchester United. In an interview with Mirror, Cleverley came face to face with the criticism levelled against the midfielder and accepted that he has often been made the ‘scapegoat’ for United’s dismal performance this season.
Though Cleverley has often started for Moyes this season, the English player has not been able to win over the fans who often criticize the midfielder for his lack of goals and tackles. The midfielder admitted that his role as a Central midfielder often went unnoticed and hence he is the first one to be blamed for the team’s losses.
“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 would like the fans on my side and it hurts a little bit when you have grown up at the club and love the club every bit as much as the supporters.”
Tom Cleverley has not been popular with the critics either. Once a rising start at Manchester United, Cleverley’s ability to play centre midfield for United has often been questioned by football pundits this season.
“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.”
So has this taken a toll on the young midfielder? Surprisingly, Cleverley accepts that he has been low on confidence but has learnt a lot in the process.
“My confidence has been a little bit low at times this season,” Cleverley admitted. “There is not much worse for a player than getting it off his own fans.
“I don’t mind hearing stick off 19 of 20 Premier League clubs. But when it comes from your own fans, it hurts a little bit more.
But the midfielder admits that he has learnt to take such harsh criticism in his stride as he is definitely not the first person to have faced the wrath of the Old Trafford faithful. Determined to prove his merit at Manchester United, Cleverley is not one to give up.
“The history of this club is all about fighting back and I am absolutely determined that my future is here and that I will fight back with it.”
Meanwhile, it seems that Rio Ferdinand is ready to draw the curtains on his career after reports emerged that the veteran defender will not be a part of Manchester United’s warm weather training camp in Dubai.
It has been reported that the defender will not be a part of the 5 day camp which United will embark upon after their game against Arsenal and that Rio Ferdinand is due to announce his retirement soon. The 35 year old defender has been a part of United’s starting line-up only 7 times this season and is expected to leave the club along with Nemanja Vidic in the summer.
Once United’s most dependable defender, Rio lost his sheen as age took a toll on his playing abilities. Brought from Leeds in 2002, Rio Ferdinand has been an instrumental member in United’s success and is expected to pursue a career in media after his retirement.