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Cleverley: Olympics a great boost
Published : 14 Oct 2012 17:17:45
Midfielder Tom Cleverley has his very own Olympic legacy - a place in the England team.
While the debate about Great Britain's female football participation in future Games continues, it has already been confirmed the men's team was a one-off experiment for London 2012 that will not be repeated. Few will mourn its passing into history, but Cleverley has good reason to be thankful for its existence.
After all, it gave him the leg up required to claim a place in the international arena, and he said: "The Olympics were very important for me. It was perfect for me to get some games and play competitive matches on a big stage. Roy Hodgson was at a couple of the games, I was in good form and I have managed to carry that on into the season."
Not that Cleverley is taking anything for granted ahead of Tuesday's World Cup qualifier with Poland in Warsaw.
He might have started all four games for England this season but it is the first time Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney have both been available, so even though Frank Lampard is missing with a calf problem, starting berths are at a premium.
"I am really proud to have started all four games so far," Cleverley said. "I am always happy to represent my country, but I have a bit more hard work and a few more games ahead of me before I become established.
"There are plenty of top class midfielders in the Premier League."