Roberto Martinez has voiced his support for Tom Cleverley and questioned why English fans have decided to scapegoat him so aggressively.
Cleverley was abused by Manchester United fans for his poor form to the point where he deactivated his Twitter account to avoid being exposed to it and a petition was then started to ban Cleverley from the World Cup, a petition that now has over 17,000 signatures.
Roy Hodgson slammed the treatment of Cleverley and now Martinez, who managed Cleverley for a season when he was on loan at Wigan Athletic, has joiend him.
“I don’t understand it, I just don’t,” Martinez told The Independent.
“Tom is part of a new generation of outstanding English talent. There are only a few English players who have had the sort of education where they look as if they could have been brought up in Holland, France or Spain. Tom is part of that.
“My disappointment is that he is being judged so aggressively. He is still growing. In other countries you wouldn’t get this. You would judge someone at 28 or 29 – that is when you would expect such strong opinions. But for a young man to have such pressure, it’s incredible.”
Martinez has always had a soft spot for Cleverley because of his time at Wigan but he is spot on in his critique of the moronic abuse Cleverley has received.
Every fan is perfectly entitled to vent their frustrations but to take it to the extreme with petitions and relentless abuse is too far and Martinez believes it could have a long term psychological impact on Cleverley.
“It will have a huge impact,” he added.
“Psychologically, you need to be perfect to play in those big games and that will affect your preparation. I hope it won’t force him to hide or look away. I think it will be the opposite; he is going to be motivated to be as good as he can be. But I do not understand that sort of scrutiny of a young player.”