EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

30/08/2011 09:14, Report by Nick Coppack
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Tom stays grounded

Despite rave reviews, including comparisons to midfield greats of the past, Tom Cleverley tells United Review and ManUtd.com he's keeping his feet on the ground…

It’s been a busy start to the campaign for you...
Yeah, I suppose it has, but getting into the team has always been my target and I’ve done that now. Maybe it’s happened a little bit more quickly than some people expected, but I have to carry on working hard now if I want to stay in the team. I understand there’ll be squad rotation, but I want to play as many games as possible.

From the outside, your rise seems meteoric…
It’s been more a steady progression. Although I feel I improved during this pre-season, I’m still the same player and I’m still the same guy. Just because I’m playing in United’s first team, that doesn’t all of a sudden make me a great footballer. It’s a bit strange when people are talking about you and you see your name in the papers, but in my head I’m still the same footballer who was sent out on loan to Wigan last year. The only difference is that I’m turning out for Manchester United now.

So ‘the new Paul Scholes’ tag doesn’t sit easily...
Ha, no. I don’t think you can compare anybody to Paul Scholes. He was a great player and an individual, and I want to be the same. I want to make my own name in the game.

Do you welcome the added attention?
Like I said, not a lot’s changed for me. I don’t feel any extra pressure. I’m just coming to training every day and playing when asked to at the weekend. I definitely don’t feel as though I’ve made it. I’m still enthusiastic and hungry to learn. If people are saying good things about me then that’s great. It’s better than being criticised! Even though you’ve been at United a while, the first-team dressing room is new territory.

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