Wigan loanee Cleverley eyes breakthrough year
Wigan midfielder Tom Cleverley insists he is ready to make his mark in the Premier League, and believes his loan move to the Latics gives him a chance to show he has what it takes to make it into parent club Manchester United's first-team.
Cleverley left United for the DW Stadium on Tuesday on a season-long loan, despite Sir Alex Ferguson saying earlier in the summer that he wanted to keep hold of the highly-rated 21-year-old.
And having enjoyed successful short-term spells at Leicester in League One and Watford in the Championship, Cleverley is confident that he can make the step up to the top flight.
"This was the right next step for me," Cleverley told the Manchester Evening News. "Sir Alex Ferguson had said he wanted to keep me but looking at the size of United's squad and the quality of the midfielders, I worried I might not get many chances.
"I have been out on loan for two seasons and they have been good for me and my improvement. I didn't want that progress to be hindered. So with all due respect to the reserves, I didn't want to go back to that level.
"I went to see the manager last week and had a chat and we both came to the agreement that it would be best to go out on loan. Wigan suits me down to the ground.
"I don't know the manager Roberto Martinez but I've heard good things about him. I know he likes to play football and you can see that the way Wigan play. That's exactly the type of side I need.
"I can still stay at home so it is perfect. There are a lot of quality players at Wigan so I will be learning. I would have loved to have stayed at United but I had to be realistic. This is the best approach.
"I know there might be some regrets if suddenly there is a spate of injuries in United's midfield but you cannot afford to think that way."
Cleverley has a difficult task proving he can make the grade at United, with players from the club's academy generally finding it difficult to break into the first team in recent years.
But the England Under-21 international does not intend to follow the paths of Fraizer Campbell and Kieran Richardson - who earned moves to Sunderland having demonstrated their Premier League credentials during loan spells with other clubs - and plans to challenge for a regular role at United.
"Having tested myself in Division One and the Championship, I felt ready to give the Premier League a go," Cleverley said. "My aim is to prove myself at this level and then hopefully next season it could be the Champions League with United.
"I needed the week-to-week test of the Premier League if my game was going to keep on the up. I wanted to keep going up a level. Hopefully, I will be able to show at Wigan that I can get on the ball comfortably in the Premier League and score goals as well.
"I am confident in my ability and I want everyone to see it. If I do well at Wigan then in 12 months my confidence will be sky high and I will be better equipped to tackle the challenge at United."