Cleverley urged to keep aiming high
Michael Carrick has told Tom Cleverley he must maintain the highest of standards if he is truly to make a big impression at Manchester United.
After spending various spells away from Old Trafford on loan, Cleverley first caught the eye 12 months ago when he was an integral member in United's flying start to the season. Carrick has always felt the 23-year-old was a player of potential.
It is showing that on a regular basis which will determine how far Cleverley will advance at the highest level, and he said: "He's got the talent and the ability - we've all seen that. It's just about keeping the standards high - we set the standards and the hard part is keeping to that standard consistently."
He added: "There is no magic ingredient. It's just about learning and getting experience. The more games he plays the better he'll play. He's comfortable dealing with the pressures that come with playing for the club. There is no danger about that."
A succession of injuries curtailed that involvement and also robbed the midfielder of his chance to impress new England boss Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2012.
Now though, Cleverley has benefited from his Olympic experience, finally won his first England cap against Italy earlier this month and last weekend brought that form to the Premier League once more as he helped inspire United to their first win of the season against Fulham.
Cleverley has resisted the temptation to regard last term as a wasted year. Carrick though acknowledges those long periods on the sidelines were a handicap the Yorkshire-raised player could have done without.
At a time when the driving force of United's midfield is still being questioned, Carrick, who has been operating as an emergency defender following a spate of pre-season injuries, feels Cleverley offers an option that could come in very handy as the weeks tick by in the battle for major honours.
"Tom is a very intelligent and clever footballer," he said. "It's a shame the way his season panned out last year because he started so well. He's got a lot to bring [to midfield].
"That's one of the good things about our midfielders. We all bring different things when called upon which gives the manager options. That is vital given how many games we're hoping to play this season."