Fergie Jr provides Cleverley clue
Posted by nickogs20 on April 1, 2010
Preston North End boss Darren Ferguson has hinted that United loan star Tom Cleverley is set to be handed a first team squad berth at Old Trafford next season.
Out of contract in the summer and coveted by a number of Premier League clubs, 20 year-old Cleverley’s future has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, with Preston among the most recent batch of clubs linked with the England U21 international. Ferguson Jr has dismissed his club’s chances of landing the midfielder however, as well as the chances of any other interested club, claiming in an interview with the Lancashire Evening Post that his father Sir Alex has Cleverley pencilled in as part of the Reds’ first team plans:
“Tom Cleverley won’t be going out on loan next season, he’ll be at United. He is a big part of their first-team plans.
“Tom is player I know plenty about, I tried to get him when I was at Peterborough. The lad is a good player, he wouldn’t be at United if he wasn’t.
“There is no truth in the fact that he is going to come here, or for that matter, anywhere else. I’m pretty certain of that after speaking to my dad, he’s going back to United. People of his age, players like Danny Welbeck, will go out on loan for a certain period of time and then that’s them.”
A revelation on loan at Watford this season, where his 11 goals so far look set to earn him Player of the Year honours, Cleverley has reportedly attracted interest from the likes of Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United, either on loan or potentially on a permanent deal. Ferguson Jr’s comments however suggest that a contract extension is likely to be reached in the near future and Sir Alex will resist any overtures from elsewhere in favour of blooding the versatile youngster at the highest level next term.
In addition to his impressive form in the Championship, new rules regarding squad size for Premier League clubs may be a reason for Cleverley being welcomed back into the fold. Much like in the Champions League, from next season top flight clubs will be required to register a squad of 25 from which their matchday squads must be chosen, with the only other players available being those aged – like Cleverley – 21 or under. With the large number of senior pros on the books at a club like United, having someone like Cleverley in the mix gives the manager greater flexibility, perhaps providing the opportunity to register an extra senior player in another position.