Manchester United’s academy graduate Tom Cleverley has announced his retirement from football due to an injury.
Watford, his recent club, announced that the midfielder is retiring and “some exciting news” will soon be announced by the club and Cleverley.
Cleverley came through the ranks at United after he joined the club as an 11-year-old in 2000. After repeated loan spells to lower divisions of English football, his breakthrough came in Sir Alex’s last season as United manager.
In the 2012/13 season, he made 32 appearances in all competitions for the club.
He was rated so highly that Sir Alex identified him as a potential homegrown replacement for retiring legend Paul Scholes.
Cleverley scored four goals in 32 appearances but his metronomic passing abilities and knack for putting in a tackle made him a fan favourite.
Unfortunately, his rise coincided with United’s fall.
David Moyes came in the next season and despite making 31 appearances again, he became a part of a failing team and as a result, a target of fans’ ire.
When Louis van Gaal arrived, midfield reinforcements in Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, and Angel di Maria meant his contribution to the club remained minimal. He was loaned to Aston Villa where he showed his Premier League-level qualities again.
He was released upon the expiration of his contract and joined Everton.
After a short spell, he finally found a home at Watford. He played for the Hornets for seven years, making 137 league appearances.
He went through it all at Watford, getting relegated twice and promoted once. However, he always managed to fight back and retain his place in the team.
He was appointed the captain of the team at the start of the 2022/23 season.
However, an Achilles tendon problem sustained in August 2022 forced him to miss the majority of the season. After nearly six months out, he attempted a comeback but ended up making just four league appearances. It eventually seems to have played a part in him taking an injury-enforced retirement.
Now, he would hope to put his injury worries behind him. If the news of the “exciting announcement” is anything to go by, a non-playing role in football at Watford might await him.