Thomas William "Tom" Cleverley /ˈklɛvəli/ (born 12 August 1989) is an English footballer who plays as a midfielder for Watford, on loan from Everton, and the England national team.
After starting his career in the youth set-up at Bradford City, Cleverley joined Manchester United at the age of 12. Between 2007 and 2009 he played for Manchester United's reserve team, and occasionally in first team friendly matches. Cleverley was loaned to League One side Leicester City at the start of 2009, for whom he made his first Football League appearances, helping the team secure the League One title and promotion to the Championship. He spent the 2009–10 season on loan with Watford in the Championship, where he scored 11 goals in 33 league games and was voted as their Player of the Season. On 31 August 2010, he joined Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan, where he scored four goals in 25 appearances and helped them to avoid relegation on the final day of the season. He returned to Manchester United for the start of the 2011–12 season and made his first competitive appearance in the Community Shield victory against Manchester City.
Cleverley played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, and later that year made his debut for the senior England team.
Cleverley was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, but grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He went to Hanson school. He was part of Bradford City's youth set up and the next summer he joined Manchester United as an 11-year-old trainee in July 2000. During the 2005–06 season, he made nine appearances for the under-18 side. He also received a taste of reserve team football when he was named on the bench for the team's 4–1 away win over Everton on 21 February 2006. His first appearance for the reserves came in a 0–0 away draw to Bolton Wanderers almost a year later, on 15 February 2007, by which time he had become a regular in the under-18 team. However, just over a month later, he suffered a long-term injury and was ruled out for seven months.
He returned to action in October 2007, playing for the reserves in a 1–1 home draw with Liverpool. The 2007–08 season marked Cleverley's emergence as a regular in the Manchester United reserve team, making 21 appearances as the team went on to win both the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup, in which he scored in the final against Liverpool. He also scored his first goals in a Manchester United shirt on 23 January 2008, when he scored both of United's goals in a 2–0 away win over Bolton Wanderers in the Premier Reserve League. His consistent performances for the reserves earned him the captaincy of the team in the absence of regular captain Sam Hewson, as well as a nomination for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award – he lost out to Richard Eckersley.
In recognition of his performances for the reserves, on 24 July 2008, Cleverley was called up to the Manchester United first team for the remainder of their tour of South Africa and the match against Portsmouth in Nigeria. He made his first team debut against Kaizer Chiefs in the final of the 2008 Vodacom Challenge, coming on in place of Rodrigo Possebon at half-time, before he scored the third of United's four goals just after the hour mark.
He returned to regular reserve team duty for the 2008–09 season, but was given a first team squad number – 35 – when the first team squad list was announced on 15 August 2008, and was named on the bench for United's League Cup matches against Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers.
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