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SPORTS
20 Jul 2011
FERGUSON BACKS TOM CLEVERLEY FOR ENGLAND CALL-UP

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped Tom Cleverley to break into the England squad.

Ferguson said Cleverley, 21, and team-mate Danny Welbeck, 20, who made his England debut last season, will not leave Old Trafford on loan this season.

Cleverley impressed on loan at Wigan last season, while Welbeck scored six goals in his loan spell at Sunderland.

"Welbeck's an England international, an exceptional talent. Cleverley will play for England too," said Ferguson.

The veteran United boss described midfielder Cleverly as "an intelligent modern-day footballer".

"His movement and understanding of space is really good for a young player," added Ferguson.

"We are happy both of them will stay with us. Because of the experience they have had, keeping them now benefits us."

Both players are now with the Manchester United squad on their tour of North America, having been given extra time off following England's disappointing European Under-21 Championship campaign.

Cleverley made 25 Premier League appearances for Wigan last season, as the club avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

Welbeck can play as a winger or striker and his performances for Sunderland saw him make his England debut in the friendly against Ghana in March.

Ferguson gave hope to Welbeck and Cleverley, and new signing Phil Jones, that they would be more than just fringe players next season by citing the examples of promising youngsters Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans in previous campaigns.

Smalling, 21, joined United from Fulham last summer, and ended up making 33 appearances in all competitions.

Evans, a product of the United youth system, has played 81 times for the club in the past three seasons.

Ferguson has always made good use of the loan system, with the likes of David Beckham and Federico Macheda completing loan spells at Preston and Sampdoria respectively in the past.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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