David Moyes has leapt to the defence of under-fire Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, insisting he is a “fantastic” player who is certain to have a bright future.
Cleverley was heavily criticised for his performance in United’s 2-0 defeat to Olympiakos in Greece while a petition to ban him from England’s World Cup squad gathered more than 10,000 signatures.
But England manager Roy Hodgson and Everton’s Roberto Martinez, who took him on loan to Wigan in the 2010-11 season, have both voiced their support for the 24-year-old and their dislike of the scapegoating of him.
And United manager Moyes has given Cleverley a vote of confidence, saying: “He is a fantastic young player who is developing all the time.
“He's a great trainer here, someone who is the first out every day. He does his best in training and never gives it less than 100 percent. From my point of view, that is why Tom will be successful.”
Hodgson had said: “That petition does not impress me, I must admit. I'm disappointed that Tom, as a sensitive young man, has got to bear that burden, but I know one thing: he will come through it and when he does come through it and Manchester United start winning again, and he's starting to get praise for his performances, he'll be stronger for it."
And Martinez added: “I just don't understand this campaign. It is not the way to encourage young players.”
Meanwhile, another of United’s young players, England under-21 international defender Michael Keane, has joined Blackburn Rovers on loan for the rest of the season.
The centre-back could make his debut for the Championship club in Sunday’s East Lancashire derby against Burnley.