Make or break season for Welbeck and Cleverley

Manchester United Training

Summer’s here, and with it comes renewed transfer speculation. Manchester United are always linked to a transfer story or two in the gossip columns, whether they be incoming or outgoing players. With a new manager at the helm, the current squad will be desperate to impress. David Moyes can run the rule over his players as the season rolls on. Anyone who doesn’t perform may find themselves looking for a new club in twelve months’ time., and two players under pressure to prove themselves are Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley.

As glamorous and exciting as big money signings are, there’s something to be said for home-grown talent. Nothing gives fans greater joy than seeing a player rise through the ranks and become an integral part of the team. David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are the famous examples that spring to mind. The likes of Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher have more recently cemented their identity as Manchester United players. It takes hard work, talent and a bit of luck to achieve this. Most youth players at Old Trafford dream of taking to the Theatre of Dreams, the reality is most won’t. Even making your debut is just the start; the hardest part is earning your right to stay in the team.

Danny Welbeck has made impressive strides in his career to date. He has represented England at Euro 2012 (scoring the winner against Sweden) and played Champions League football (scoring at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid). Unfortunately for Welbeck, goals are few and far between. Last season, he managed just two in 39 appearances across all competitions. Defenders Patrice Evra and Rafael had more fruitful campaigns in front of goal. Welbeck’s pace and movement is a nightmare for defenders, and his ability to create space for others to exploit shouldn’t be overlooked. However, if he is to remain at Old Trafford, Welbeck will need to improve his goal tally, otherwise he is in danger of being overshadowed by the likes of Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez.

Tom Cleverley has been seen as a possible successor to Paul Scholes in the heart of the United midfield. At times we have seen glimpses of this. Cleverley can seek a pass anywhere on the field, and his technical ability is vital in a congested midfield zone. Injuries have curtailed his development since breaking into the first team picture in August 2011. An ankle problem sidelined him for much of his debut season, while last year a calf injury saw Cleverley miss playing time. Michael Carrick is guaranteed a starting berth in central midfield, and Cleverley is among those fighting to play beside him. With rumours linking Cesc Fabregas and Marouane Fellaini with moves to Old Trafford, Cleverley will need to impress his manager and the club’s fans. He turns 24 next month, and has to start realising his potential if he is to make the grade at Manchester United.

David Moyes has many big decisions to make as Manchester United’s manager. The futures of home-grown stars Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley may not be an immediate priority, but is one that will crop up as time progresses. Welbeck and Cleverley can make Moyes’ mind up by proving their abilities on the pitch.

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