There has been plenty of hype surrounding Tom Cleverley over the past year or two which reached a climax this summer once Paul Scholes announced his retirement. Cleverley was tipped by plenty to be the successor to one of the most gifted midfielders this country has ever seen.

Fortunately for the lad, and for the team, Cleverley dealt with the expectation well, and confirmed his place in the starting XI at the start of the season.

However, a late challenge from Kevin Davies in our game against Bolton saw the midfielder ruled out for a month. He was brought back against Everton in October but was subbed off with less than an hour played.

“He’s felt his ankle again,” Ferguson said after the game. “It’s nothing serious, just tightness and tiredness. He should be okay next week and it was an excellent performance from him in the first half.”

Cleverley hasn’t played a game since, despite the club predicting he would be back by Christmas.

“It is pretty long term,” said Ferguson. “(He will be out until) Christmas time. It is unfortunate. It is worse than we thought. When he first came off against Everton he reported it as just a tightness, with a bit of pain. We have done scans again and the injury has recurred. We will have to give him a break.”

Christmas has obviously come and gone, with United losing two consecutive games, yet there has been no sign of our midfielder.

Today, on Twitter, Cleverley revealed how much longer he expected to be out for.

“Finally some good news. Plan to b outside running in 2 weeks and training the week after that. Cnt wait to b back!”

The Evening News is reporting this as a “boost” but I think it’s is pretty dreadful. It means he will have been missing from October to February, which is a bloody long time out for a player who has had such a positive impact on our play when he’s been on the field. If he won’t be training for three weeks then it could be ages before we see him back on the pitch again. Bad news for United… but not bad enough to convince Glazer to put his hand in his pocket.