FOOTBALL NEWS

19/02/2012 11:51, Report by Adam Marshall
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Ex-Reds praise Tom

Former United midfield greats Nicky Butt and Bryan Robson are both looking forward to seeing more of Tom Cleverley as the season progresses.

The 22-year-old made his first apperance since October in Thursday's 2-0 win at Ajax and looks set to play a key role in the remainder of the campaign after being praised by Sir Alex in his enforced absence.

Butt and Robson, who are well placed to discuss any midfielders at Old Trafford, agree that Cleverley's ability is without question as he aims to cement a starting spot again after starting the first four 2011/2012 Barclays Premier League games.

"I've known Cleverley since he was a kid," Butt told ManUtd.com recently. "When I first started my coaching badges at United with Scholesy, Neville, Giggsy and Keaney, they were the team we were taking as 15-year-olds then.

"He was always a bright talent and, since he's been on loan, he's come back and been phenomenal really. He needs to keep working hard at it. I'm sure he will as he comes across as a good lad and he needs to listen to the manager, coaches and experienced pros. He can go anywhere really, he's got that much ability.

"Cleverley is a much better technical footballer than I ever was. It just goes to show how it's moving on with these players."

Robson, speaking to MUTV in a recent interview, admits it was disappointing that an ankle problem curtailed Cleverley's progress at a time when he was imposing himself in the top flight.

"Tom has done great," enthused the ex-England captain. "He's been very unfortunate with the injury side of it.

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