After all the recent speculation that Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley will become a top summer target for Everton’s Roberto Martinez this summer, we look at what Roberto has had to say of the young English midfielder in the past.
The first interview was with the Daily Star, where Martinez defended Cleverley after making a less than impressive performance for the England national team, missing three or four clear chances in a single game. At this time, Martinez was still the boss over at Wigan, where Cleverley had played for him on loan during the 2010/11 season.
“If anything, Tom is going to want to be better in the next game.
“He has already shown he is a top player. You can judge players not by the chances they miss, but whether they are prepared to go back into those situations to get a scoring opportunity again.
“I guarantee Tom will get into those positions time and time again.
“He’s a tremendous example of the future of English football.
“He is mature beyond his years and can play in many positions.
“The role he played for England was completely different to the one he plays for Manchester United, which is different to the one he played for us.
“Sometimes it can be a negative to be able to play in a number of positions.
“Some players are a jack of all trades but not special in any of them.
“Tom is special in what he does, while understanding other roles within the team just as well.
“But if you were to ask what is his best position, I’d say central midfield.
“I think that Manchester United always saw him as that – even while he was here [at Wigan].”
The next interview came just last month, where Martinez was now in charge at the Blues of Everton. It came about after an online petition, signed by over 10,000 people, questioned the continued selection of Cleverley in the national side, and demanded that he not be taken on the plane to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.
“There are only a few players in this country who have had the sort of education where they look as if they could have been brought up in Holland, Spain or France.
“Tom is one of them. I just don’t understand this campaign, it is not the way to encourage young players.
“Maybe he has been given a bigger role than he should have been given but even so it is ridiculous to put someone so young in the spotlight then knock him down. We as a public are to blame if we allow that to happen. You have to help young players reach a level.
“What has happened is not Tom’s fault, I think he is as good a talent as we have in the English game, and he is still growing. You wouldn’t get this in other countries, and I find it disappointing that he is being judged so aggressively when he has not even reached 200 games. Such a young player does not need that sort of scrutiny or pressure, but I am sure he will come through it and be even more motivated.”
It is fair to say that Martinez has defended Cleverley regularly and clearly rates the struggling midfielder. It would not be a huge surprise to see this speculation turn to truth as he arrives into Finch Farm this summer. Cleverley only has 12 months left on his contract, yet is expected to demand a fee of around £8 million.