Tom Cleverley has become a scapegoat for a selection of Manchester United fans this season.
Some even went as far as to create an online petition demanding that he be sold.
There’s no doubt that Cleverley has not played to this potential this season but you could count the amount of players who have fully performed for United this year on just one hand, especially some of our senior players who have done anything but lead by example.
In a straight talking interview with Ollie Holt from The Mirror, Cleverley admitted the abuse got to him at the start but that he has now simply grown to ignore it.
“When I first started getting singled out, it stung, yeah,” Cleverley said.
“But it’s something you have got to learn to take when the team is not doing well.
“My job goes under the radar at times. I am not a player who’s going to beat three or four people and stick it in the top corner or go round tackling people like Roy Keane.
“I would like the fans on my side and it hurts a little bit when you have grown up at the club and love the club every bit as much as the supporters.
“But there are other people in the current United squad who have been through this kind of thing and they have made sure their quality shone through.
“I have got to look at those people. I have learned to take it with a pinch of salt and I’m sure it will make me stronger for the rest of my career.
“I feel I’ve been made a scapegoat a little bit. A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team.
“Don’t get me wrong, I know I can do better but people are making a big thing about how I don’t score enough goals when that is not necessarily my first job in the team.”
The fans who lambast Cleverley are probably the same ones who got on the case of Carrick’s possession football up until last year. When we don’t have that sort of possession football in the middle, we just end up skipping the midfield altogether.
Cleverley might not be too forward thinking in how he plays but he is spot on with what he said further on – you can’t lose if you keep possession.
The 24-year-old has regressed somewhat this season but still managed to play pretty much every minute in United’s almost undefeated winter schedule and for the rest of the season at least, he’s likely to play a major role for us.
It’s questionable whether Cleverley will be good enough for a first team spot after we sign new midfielders but right now, at the very least, fans should support him instead of trying to make him a scapegoat.