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Cleverley: I love this club as much as the fans

Tom Cleverley is the latest homegrown product that Manchester United fans (on the internet) have chosen to single out for criticism. It’s important to remember that at Old Trafford and away from home, Cleverley doesn’t get booed or jeered, but on Twitter and online football forums, United fans talk about him with real hatred.

“When I first started getting singled out, it stung, yeah,” Cleverley says, “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. But there are other people in the current United squad who have been through this kind of thing and they have made sure their quality shone through. I have got to look at those people. I have learned to take it with a pinch of salt and I’m sure it will make me stronger for the rest of my career. 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.”

At the start of the 2011-2012 season, Cleverley looked the business, and people were quickly comparing him to Paul Scholes. Following a string of injuries and rarely getting a regular run in the team, Cleverley hasn’t developed in the way we would want him to.

Whilst I don’t think fans should blindly support and praise players, I also genuinely am at a loss as to why our fans give him such a hard time. He loves the club and he always gives 100%, but he isn’t good enough to hold down a place in United’s starting XI. Is that a reason to slag him off all the time? Phil Neville wasn’t good enough for our starting XI, neither was John O’Shea, neither was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for much of his United career, but the fans didn’t lay in to them with anywhere near the venom that Cleverley is on the receiving end of.

Cleverley of course didn’t help himself by creating his brand after playing just a handful of first team games, which is something I have been critical of him for, but I still desperately want him to do well. I’d still love it if he proved himself good enough to stick around at United for the rest of his career, even if as a squad player.

For too him many fans, it doesn’t seem to make any difference that he’s been at the club since he was 12 and is red through and through. I’m not suggesting that his history with the club means we should keep him even if he doesn’t make the grade, but I won’t take any pleasure if he’s deemed not good enough and shipped off. I find it confusing that we have fans who will be pleased with that.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. NBI Red 21 says:

    Agree with @ Gazzer. Watching some of the Chelsea game, you just cannot compare Clev to any of those players, different league, Willian is an energetic beast, Oscar is Mata like, Hazard is a superstar in making, Ramires and Matjic are box to box and all these players are younger than Cleverly. So much for Maureen being no good with youth. They were maybe a but narrow against N who contained them well but its their lack of striker that is the difference, with a Drogba or Suarez they would be running away. All have defensive duties except Oscar who basically is allowed to float around picking passes that their strikers are to shit to make anything of.

    On Suarez, he has 23 goals in 23 EPL appearances. Crazy. No EPL player I can remember had those stats, I think Rudd may have once season but I think his 40 goals were in all competitions.

  2. NBI Red 21 says:

    I expect Cleverly to start against Arsenal. Kagawa is clearly on his way out.

    Moyes has indicated he will play the same way:

    “”Everyone keeps telling me about the stats and the opportunities we had. We had plenty of chances to win the game.”

    Asked if he was disappointed that the team have not built on the Juan Mata factor and reacted to it Moyes hit back, “Who’s not reacted?”

    Journalist: ‘The team with the results.’

    “Yeah but we played well against Fulham and should have won the game so if you take that I would have to disagree with that question.”

    Moyes was then asked how he gets through when the flak is flying around so intensely.

    “Just keep doing the job because I know that we’re doing the right job. We’ll do the same things, we’ll make sure things are right – prepare the players well and things will change I have no doubt.”

    The questioner came back with, ‘Should you not be doing different things because the same things are not working?’

    “I disagree with that as well,” answered the United boss.

    - What is the definition of insanity…? And who is everyone telling him about great stats it must be Liverpool and City fans, ‘yeah mate, you played a cracking game, your stats are great, don’t change a thing.”

    So yeah, based on this I expect Clev to start and expect a 442 with Mata stuck on the wing. If he actually gets that this is a dumb plan that will be a misracle. Per Mertesaker is about 7ft tall, he will eat high crosses like saurkraut.

  3. WeAreUnitedd says:

    I think some people really are here just to put some nonsense to back their arguments

    Look, firstly I would take Nani over Valencia every day, and people here knows it, also I know that Young has been only a squad player, he’s done some decent job, but he was never the player to help us take on Barca, and for now I simply can’t stand Young because he should not start for us anymore. THIS BEING SAID, I also am not delusional like some guys.

    @Kwesi, your arguments really are bad.

    QUOTE “So you seriously think Young or Valencia will be beasting at Cardiff or Fulham with that level of talent around them?” YES, do you want to know why? at their age they are now 27-29 they would find it harder, but when both were 21+ they both did exellent jobs.

    Young was superb for Aston Villa AND AT THE AGE OF 21-22 he had 8 goals and 17 assists under his belt and Valencia did a good job for Wigan who neither was no Dortmund. SO when you compare Zaha at the age of 21 and Young at 21, I think Young did a better job than Zaha is doing now for a lower team.

    QUOTE “why is that everytime Zaha plays an average game some on here come to remind us about it? ”
    DO you want to know why? it’s not because people don’t rate him, he’s our player who has amazing POTENTIAL, a very ver yskilled player. BUt why? because

    1.) people seem to forget that Zaha has been outplayed by Januzaj who’s 18 turned 19. and they still find something to moan about.
    2. ) Zaha and Januzaj would have never got the chance to play together, the state we in would have never allowed a manager to play 2 kids. even if we all wanted to see Zaha.
    3) at 21 ROnaldo was beating everyone
    4) people make it as he was our saviour but don’t manage to be appreciate Januzaj and just realise that Zaha has not impressed Moyes, YET

    DON’T get me wrong, I would have given him more gametime, bu tthe lad has clearly shown nothing in trainings or in his attitude, that’s why a younger Januzaj has given the nod, when at the beginning of the season Zaha had the nod in tha Community shield.

    It’s not that people don’t want Zaha to succeed for effin sake, get a grip, he’s our player and hopefully become as good if not betetr than Bale, but at the moment he has fallen behind and hopefully Ole gets him down to earth and gives his playing time.

    Until then, just remember this, if Rooney ( Mata will play right if Rooney stays) does not leave, Zaha will fight next season for that right or left spot against Mata and Januzaj.. hmmm.. if he overcomes that for the next 2-3 seasons, then we have a wolrld class player in our hands, if not, then I don’t know, probably a class player who never made it with us.

    only time will tell, but people needs to stop making arguments for the sake of it.

    peace and good night.

  4. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    @NBI that whole passage of conversation sums up EVERYTHING I dislike about him. Extremely stubborn and set in his ways and supremely deluded. I’ve almost given up. Every media session is embarrassment upon embarrassment. Can’t take it for much longer.

  5. Izham Ikram says:

    @dannysoya same here…i alrdy give up on moyes…but not Man Utd…

  6. Josh Bennett says:

    I’m not so much critical of Cleverley; he’s a likable character who always gives his best. But I am critical of Moyes who, for a long period of the season was selecting Cleverley ahead of just about everybody. You’re right, I’d be very happy for Cleverley to stay if being a squad player is enough for him. But it took Moyes far too long to realize that he isn’t good enough (yet) to get selected week in week out. As for Twitter, most (not all) United ‘fans’ on that are twats as who’ve never been to Old Trafford. We get enough stick from non United fans that think the Twitter contingent represent our views of the club. I think it’s time the real United fans discounted twitter completely to be honest.

  7. TywinnLannister says:

    A lot of Mr knows it all here :) Hey guys I know everything and I know it better than you are. My thought is righteous, your thought has no value. I’m the best and the one and the truest Man United fan. Stop arguing with me you peasants!

    Some of you sound like that :) Just saying :)

  8. aka_nemo says:

    not just because he scored a goal, but does any one else think that Carrick looked half way back to his “devastating form”, he really was getting his defense splitting passes! All you Carrick haters, please dont slag me off now. I’m just saying.

  9. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Whatever I think of Moyes or Cleverley I just hope we can return to our old selves very soon. If we start tonight with a win against Arsenal, it will be a miracle of epic proportions. At least give a good account of yourselves in the game. Don’t go out like wimps for the love of Christ.

  10. shaan says:

    Well @dannysoya. I just hope that we win but it is nothing more than hope and pray. The way we are playing and that nutty professor’s stubborn attitude does not provide any excitement. I dont think he will change the style or philosophy, and why should he when his plans are working (provide 100+ crosses and break all the heads).

    May be just may be I feel he wants to injure their defender by making them head the balls and when they are short of defenders, we will attack (just trying to convince myself with this stupid theory).

  11. trevor knightsmith says:

    dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT:

    I cannot remember the last time I had such little confidence in us getting a result as I have with tonight’s match .

    Mind you I’m beginning to feel a lot like this lately .

    My Arsenal supporting friend is being very quiet about it all , I think he thinks anything less than an easy win would be highly embarrassing .

    I think he has a point, under Moyes not only have we become a laughing stock , but a soft touch to boot .

    I just hope (without any confidence whatsoever) I have something to cheer about later .

  12. gra mar says:

    David Moyes has never won a Premier League game away from home as a manager against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Man Utd (P48 W0 D18 L30).

    I still fancy us to put it up to Arsenal tonight. I can’t help but feel optimistic. Depsite Moyes and our poor form we are Manchester United. The thing is if I could choose anyone to win the league of the 4 contenders I’d pick Arsenal. I begrudgingly admire Wenger and couldn’t stomach seeing any of the other 3 do it. No doubt Mata will score the winner just to really blow Wengers top!

  13. shaan says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts Jones and Young and/or Valencia in the starting eleven. Or may be he will start with Jones in the defence with Smalling at rightback. Fellaine will be on the bench and will come on if things are not going our way to head in the remaining 81+ crosses.

  14. UnitedFaithful says:

    Great post Scott.

    I have all the time in the world for Cleverly,homegrown,plays his heart out knows the United way.The absolute drivel posted concerning him him is pathetic to be honest.I remember Carrick being accused of passing sideways at United,didn’t turn our half bad did he?Cleverly may well not turn out to be a worlds class player but he can be a very good one,we have seen his highs and when on song he is definitely a player I would want to have in my team.

  15. Blacksocks says:

    So what team would you pick for tonight. I’m presuming the likes of Jones, Evans, Cleverley, Nani and Fellaini etc are all unavailable. So my starting 11 would be:

    De Gea

    However I wouldn’t play a 442 formation. United will probably have to hit on the break against the Gooners so Rooney would drop deep, almost into central midfield. His ability to hit long balls accurately will be crucial. Mata and Januzaj would play ahead of him but with free roles making it hard for the Arsenal players to pick them up. RVP up front of course.

    I’ve dropped Evra for Buttner to give some pace and vitality on the left. Hopefully he’ll remember to actually defend. If Evans and Jones were fit I would play them also but this seems unlikely.

  16. The_red_devils says:

    @nbi red matic, ramires and willian are not younger than cleverly, oscar and hazard are young but already established first team players who were buyed for huge money… mou won’t play academy players who are trying to break through..

  17. KimReneV says:

    Hoping for the following team tonight;

    De Gea
    Rafael Jones Evans Evra

    Valencia Carrick Januzaj


    Rooney RVP

    Hoping for massive amounts of overlaps on both sides.

    3-1 (Carrick, RVP 2)


  18. Tommy says:


    They were all bought, Mou has never produced a player in his life and never will.


    I have seen Lingard play regularly for a number of years and I really dont feel he is quite good enough, just my opinion, Hes hit and miss in the under 21s, say what you like about Valencia and Young they would both piss all over the under 21s, even Buttner when he plays in the under 21s he is usually the best player, theirs a big difference between that level and first team level. On Zaha, well if you lot dont put him on a pedastal that he has done nothing to warrent then every bad game he has would not be scrutinized so much would it, Clearly hes no where near ready for United and is proving it at the monment with his performances

  19. KwesiOwusuJnr says:

    WeAreUnitedd – bad argument? Why is that? Zaha also put in excellent results to help CP to make the leap to the PL. Where was Valencia at 20yrs? Valencia and Young were fortunate to play consistently in Wigan and AV respectively helping them grow and establish them as good pros. Zaha’s case is different. He would have surely seen a steady growth by now had he stayed in CP and gotten consistent minutes this season playing against top competition. If Fergie was still here, Zaha might have taken off by now since Zaha was his ‘big’ signing and so he’ld have persisted with him.
    Januzaj’s contract issue is what we have to thank, not Moyes. As soon as Adnan signed the contract he was dropped for the next game. The same thing happened when we got Mata. If things had gone well in all those matches, he’ld have gradually kept Adnan on the bench. Go figure.
    And I seriously dont rate what Moyes thinks about him. A coach who doesnt rate Kagawa is technically inept to me.
    Why mention Ronaldo when I’m talking about Young and Valencia? Nani is my man though

  20. KwesiOwusuJnr says:

    Seriously, that’s hyperbole. Januzaj outplayed Zaha. Dude, Zaha has not started a single PL game for us. You keep harping on a the community shield, which shouldnt even be a marker. His first match could just have been nerves. Mind you, Adnan has been here longer so will be way comfortable playing infront of our fans than Zaha would. Do you know there is something called Psychology in football? So you think him flopping in a Shield match is enough for him not to be given a healthy run of games? Our wingers have been stinkin up the joint too, so no excuse there.
    You know Adnan was so terrible when he came on for Kags against WBA? Had it not been his contract issues I dont think he’ld have gotten a look-in. I hear people saying “what Moyes sees in training”. He sees nothing, its all athleticism and fitness. I have heard players praising Kags at training but it’s clear Moyes doesnt rate him.
    It’s funny, but I somehow think we’ll beat Arsenal today. Peace.

  21. Tommy says:


    Well look at his childish comments, He really needs to grow the fuck up or get out of United, simple as that really, He does not even excell in United under 21 games and does not deserve to be starting games, and Kagawa has done fuck all for 18 months apart from a hattrick against a poor Norwich side, he does not deserve to play either, hes too weak for English football, easily knocked off the ball

  22. Blacksocks says:

    @ Kim ReneV

    Jones and Evans both unavailable for tonights game. Not sure a midfield 3 of Valencia (a winger) Carrick and Januzaj (Attacking midfielder) would suit away at Arsenal.

    @Tommy – rumours persist that Zaha was late for training on more than one occasion and that it’s his attitude as much as anything why he hasn’t broken through this season. That said, he was the best player in the Championship last season and I think we could only judge him properly if he had had a run of games in the 1st team, which he hasn’t. Would he have been any worse than Valencia?

  23. Tommy says:


    Moyes has said Jones and Fellani are both available again and have went to London in squad, whether they will be involved or not is another matter

  24. Blacksocks says:

    @ Tommy

    I stand corrected :) although I doubt either will start. However a marauding Jones protecting the back four, breaking up Arsenals intricate play is probably just what we need.

  25. WeAreUnitedd says:

    @kwesi kwesi my friend listen, firstly just so you don’t get me confused, I rate Zaha highly and would have wanted to see him play more, and believe in his hype, trust me, he can be big, but at the moment, he’s very very small. now to the point

    People are making as if Januzaj has been all shit and suddenly was playing because of his contract.

    Firstly I believe Zaha can be better than Young and valencia, that’s why he’s playing for us this young and not like TonyV and Young in their later ages BUT this holds nothing, it’s just assumptions and saying things
    You say:
    “Valencia and Young were fortunate to play consistently in Wigan and AV respectively helping them grow and establish them as good pros. Zaha’s case is different. ”

    Of course they were fortunate, but they made their own steps, Zaha’s case is maybe a little different but the lad is 21 with Championship experience, and TELL me, what do we do with our youth? we send them t othe championship to get games so they come stronger, well Zaha has that he has that experience, heck he helped them promote, but now where is he with all that experience?

    You say: “He would have surely seen a steady growth by now had he stayed in CP and gotten consistent minutes this season playing against top competition. If Fergie was still here, Zaha might have taken off by now since Zaha was his ‘big’ signing and so he’ld have persisted with him.”

    He would have gotten consistent minutes yes, but these are ifs and buts, might have might have, ifs and buts my friend.

    AND WHAT’S UP WITH THESE COMMENTS now and days??? contract issue we have to thank?? haha, makes me laugh, of course we needed to play him, but effin sake, the lad is PHENOMENAL, give him some credit, you guys give more credit to Zaha who has done NOTHING, but seem to not appreciate Januzaj’s figthing through the ranks. double-standards.

    You say:
    Januzaj outplayed Zaha. Dude, Zaha has not started a single PL game for us. You keep harping on a the community shield, which shouldnt even be a marker.

    Ok I give this to you, the community shiedl should not be a marker, BUT the reason why Januzaj is starting and Zaha is not, this is what I am trying to say to you, No manager would have put in this situation 2 young guys playing at the same time, that’s my point and because Januzaj is OUTPLAYING Zaha probably in trainings AND in games, look at the Norwich match and tell me who played betetr, then that’s why I put it as Zaha vs Januzaj

    You say:
    His first match could just have been nerves. Mind you, Adnan has been here longer so will be way comfortable playing infront of our fans than Zaha would. Do you know there is something called Psychology in football?

    Let me tell you something about psychology Adnan came as a 15 year boy to England from a foreign country and Adnan was 18 when started to play for us, with no experience!! who should have more nerves???? a 18 year old kid or 21 old kid who played 100+ championship games?

    You say:
    You know Adnan was so terrible when he came on for Kags against WBA? Had it not been his contract issues I dont think he’ld have gotten a look-in. I hear people saying “what Moyes sees in training”. He sees nothing, its all athleticism and fitness.

    THIS LEAVES me speechless, where people go just to make a point, so it’s ALL BECAUSE contract issues the lad has scored 3 goals and put 2 assists? and played our outr best player? yeah that’s it.

    YOU SEE, you seem to think WEstBrom was his first game when it was
    Januzaj DEBUT came againts Crystal Palace AND he played like a SUPERSTAR LOOK AT THIS

    YOU TELL ME did he do well, if not then I suggest you to look more of footbll, no punt here, just makes me angry.

    You say:
    I have heard players praising Kags at training but it’s clear Moyes doesnt rate him.

    WELL I’ve hear that everyone rates Fellainis hair in trainings and how good they flow in the wind. You know why I said this? because if you hear something, then I also heard something, with no quotes I don’t buy into anything.

    PS: We will beat Arsenal today


  26. The_red_devils says:

    @kwesiowusujnr, saying januzaj played coz of his contract is complete bullshit. Its both understatement to his quality and not giving credit to moyes when its due…. If moyes wasn’t convinced by januzaj or didn’t fancy him etc, then moyes wouldn’t have played him regardless his contract issue…

  27. minde minimal says:

    feck off you useless peace of shit. its because players like you absolute average shit united are struggling and of because of that fucking loser joke of a manager moyes.

  28. KwesiOwusuJnr says:

    WeAreUnitedd – dont get me wrong mate. I believe Januzaj has the potential to be better than Ronnie.
    And with the Zaha ish – it’s more of me not rating Young and Valencia than me rating Zaha. Actually, I didnt even notice Zaha in our Cupset against CP. So was surprised when he was touted as something special.
    And to those saying I dont want to give Moyes his due. I was one the positive fans when he was appointed. I hate it that he’s everything I thought he wasnt. His use of Pienaar(an inferior Nani) and Mirallas gave me some wrong impressions apparently. So I have no agenda against him. I still even have pix of him and Patricia, lol. I realised why he seldom played Barkley. Apart from Adnan, that was the other kid I was smitten by when I saw him play the very first time.


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