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Mar 25, 2013

Cleverley aims to fill Scholes' boots

Tom Cleverley says he hopes to emulate the feats of Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes for club and country as he aims to make an impact for England in their World Cup qualifier against Montenegro.

• Preview: Montenegro v England
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Cleverley is one of seven United players in Roy Hodgson's squad for Tuesday's fixture, and despite retiring from international football after Euro 2004, Scholes is evidently still having an impact on the Three Lions as they prepare.

"It is more watch and learn with Scholesy rather than speaking to him," said Cleverley. "He is one of the best in the world at keeping the ball - and has been for many years. But it is not only about keeping the ball, you can keep it as long as you want playing passes sideways 10 yards.

"A big part of Scholesy's game is hurting teams as well. You need that in your game at this level. He is a great person and a great example for me to have around."

Cleverley has gained the status of England's only ever-present starter this season, proving himself to be an essential component of whatever side Hodgson chooses to select.

He believes United and England team-mate Wayne Rooney will manage to avoid a repeat of the red card he was shown in the corresponding fixture during qualification for Euro 2012.

"He will just prepare the same way and want to win like everyone else," said Cleverley.

"Wayne is a good character to have around for club and country. He gives you constructive things, offers you advice and tells you if he wants a bit more."

There have also been words of encouragement from an unexpected source given it is widely assumed Sir Alex Ferguson's stark warning led to Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal, which stirred up so much controversy.

"He does wish us luck," said Cleverley of his club manager. "He obviously wants us to play well so we will gain confidence for when we go back to our clubs."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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