FOOTBALL NEWS

11/10/2013 07:53, Report by Adam Marshall

Tom backs loans

Tom Cleverley says first-team experience is crucial to youngsters aiming to make their mark at a big club after watching several Manchester United players gain vital playing time on loan this season.

The United midfielder had loan spells with Leicester City, Watford and Wigan Athletic before proving his worth at Old Trafford and is delighted to see Nick Powell also impress at the DW Stadium, while the likes of Jesse Lingard, Federico Macheda and Ryan Tunnicliffe are all furthering their education away from Old Trafford.

"I think it's massive, it definitely helped me," he told MUTV. "I got something out of all three of my loan spells and I'd recommend it to any young player who is at a big club with a 25-man squad. The lads will gain massive confidence and they are all doing really well. It's pleasing to see."

Cleverley is also an advocate of the new UEFA Youth League and wishes he'd had the opportunity to play in such a prestigious European competition during in his formative teenage years. Nicky Butt's squad travelled to Donetsk with the first team and were unluckily beaten 2-1 by Shakhtar, having defeated Bayer Leverkusen 4-3 in the first match in the competition.

"I think it's brilliant," Tom enthused. "We did it once against Celtic and it was a great experience. "We were saying we wish we'd had this tournament when we were that age.

"It's great experience for the boys to play against teams with different nationalities and then coming to the first-team game at night. So it was good for them to mix in with us, being on the plane and we were all chatting with them and asking how they got on."

More: Loan watch: Henriquez brace | Moyes pleased with loanees

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