Man United’s Tom Cleverley will be a top player, declares Steven Gerrard
England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Manchester United's Tom Cleverley will be a "top player"
Steven Gerrard has backed Tom Cleverley to become a “top player” after the Manchester United midfielder impressed in England’s 5-0 win against Moldova.
The 23-year-old, earning his second England cap, slotted effortlessly into Roy Hodgson’s midfield, winning a fourth-minute penalty which led to Frank Lampard’s opener.
And the Liverpool captain was impressed by Cleverley’s performance in England’s opening 2014 World Cup qualifier.
“Tom is going to be a good player,” said Gerrard.
“He is only a young boy. Games like that in Moldova will be fantastic experience for him. He is playing for one of the biggest clubs in Europe and he has broken into the England team so he has got a fantastic future.
“He keeps learning the game, keeps trying to improve, he is going to be a top player.”
With Wayne Rooney ruled out with a leg injury for a couple of months, Gerrard is confident Cleverley is sufficiently versatile to fill in for his United team-mate if required.
“We will have to wait and see but he is doing a good job,” said Gerrard.
“He’s played there twice now, against Italy and against Moldova, and he has done himself no harm at all.
“He can also play as a midfielder as well. It’s important when you are young to play in a couple of different positions. It helps you get into starting elevens and he can do that.”
Gerrard also admitted it is important that Hodgson gets the balance between experience and youth right in his side, with Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starring against Moldova.
“The important thing with a football team is to get the right blend of youth and experience,” added Gerrard.
“I don’t think it would be fair if you put 11 kids out in games like in Moldova. The older lads have got a lot of helping to do for these young lads.
“But it showed in Moldova that if you get the right blend of youth and experience, you can win football matches and that’s what it is all about.”