Rio against Cleverley comparisons
Rio Ferdinand believes comparing Tom Cleverley to Paul Scholes creates unnecessary pressure on the youngster.
Last Updated: 14/08/11 5:03pm
Rio Ferdinand believes comparing Tom Cleverley to Paul Scholes creates unnecessary pressure on the Manchester United youngster.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said at the end of last season his biggest task for the summer was replacing Scholes, considered by many to be the finest English player of his generation.
But Ferguson looks set to rely on his youngsters, in particular Cleverley, who was outstanding in last weekend's Community Shield and was drafted into the England squad by Fabio Capello for the postponed midweek friendly with Holland.
Ferdinand has no doubts Cleverley can make a big impact for United this season, but the centre-half feels attaching the Scholes label would be too much for the 22-year-old.
"If he gets near to Paul Scholes he will have done well," said Ferdinand. "Tom will be his own player. I am sure he would rather be that than titled the new this or that.
"He has some great traits. He sees the game clearly and plays the ball forward in a nice way. It is a huge pressure to be tagged the next Paul Scholes."
Born in Basingstoke, Cleverley grew up in Bradford and emerged through the Bantams' youth set-up.
His promise was quickly spotted by United and after joining the club's academy, Cleverley spent time on loan at Watford before going to Wigan last season, when he became battle-hardened during the Latics' successful fight against the drop.
"Tom has been here a long time," recalled Ferdinand. "He came part-time as a youngster. Everyone remembers him.
"He was very slight but he has worked hard. He has matured and grown. He has gone out on loan, done his apprenticeship and come back a fantastic young player."
Like Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge, Cleverley has benefited from time away, learning the harsh realities of life in the top-flight at a time when chances would have been limited at his parent club.
"Everybody knew he had the talent," said Ferdinand. "It was about realising it and pushing on.
"All the things people were worrying about, with regard to his height and size have been knocked on the head now. He is showing people his true worth.
"Sunday was one game but he did it on loan at Wigan last year. I heard Roberto Martinez speak many times about how good he is. He brings that to Manchester United and I am sure he will have a fantastic career."