When Cleverley first broke on to the scene for Manchester United he was first hyped and then criticized. Hyped up to be the new Paul Scholes then criticized when he wasn’t. But who is? It’s a reoccurring problem that Manchester United have in that they try to compare young central midfielders to one of the best of his generation. The same thing happened with Darron Gibson.
The player then gets put under a huge amount of scrutiny and loses confidence. At Wigan we saw a great young player, at Manchester United we saw a player be an integral part of Fergusons title-winning team before it went wrong under Moyes and then at Aston Villa we saw a player coming back into confidence and form. A player Aston Villa fans are very sore at losing.
Everton have had a great recent track record of turning players careers around and giving them a place where they can play with confidence. The likes of Saha, Pienaar, Howard, Barry, Gibson and most recently, Lennon have all thrived at the club after being unwanted and/or criticized at their former clubs.
I think the Cleverley we’ll see playing for our royal blue jersey will be the one who played with the freedom and confidence that he did when he first started playing and was first called up by England.
The transfer was a complete no-brainer. Everton fans have reasonable to be skeptical as to whether he will be a success at a club as, of course, it’s not guaranteed. We Everton fans however always have to look at the economical side of a deal given our finances. We have just added a quality player to our squad for no transfer fee but if you consider that Man United reportedly wanted 7 million for him last season that it shows that even if it doesn’t work out in terms of playing time then at least Everton will make a profit on the deal. It’s a win-win either way for the club.
As for where he’ll fit in for the club he is a versatile player who now gives us a range of options with our midfield. McCarthy was employed further forward by Martinez in the second half of the season but, for me, lacks the attacking instincts and final third passing to be a long term success in that area, an area which is suited to Cleverley and maybe with McCarthy sitting further back. It may be that Barry and McCarthy will remain our first choice pair but if you replace one with Besic or Cleverley then you can go with different tactics based on the opposition you’re facing. Darron Gibson has been far too injury prone and can’t be relied upon to play games for the club and having 3 fit central midfielders isn’t enough, so we need to recruit in that position. There is also the option of playing 4-3-3 and that’s why I think it was such a great deal for the club as it gives us a lot more flexibility.
As I said, time will tell if Cleverley is a success for the club however I’m aware there are a lot of skeptics out there. As long as he gets our full support I think we’ll see his confidence increase and, similar to Gibson, the skepticism for his transfer will soon into joy at a great deal for the club. A few players have come to this club with an underwhelming reaction from the supports before impressing and getting them onside, I think Cleverley will do the same.