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Tom Cleverley's England claims boosted by Olympic legacy
Published : 14 Oct 2012 17:02:39
Tom Cleverley's England claims boosted by Olympic legacy World Cup qualifier: Poland v England Venue: The National Stadium, Warsaw Date: Tuesday 16 October Kick-off: 20:00 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sport from 19:00 BST & on BBC Sport website Tom Cleverley says his Olympic experience has played a huge part in his elevation to the full England side. Team GB failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals at London 2012, but Cleverley impressed England boss Roy Hodgson sufficiently to start all three of this season's World Cup qualifiers. "The Olympics were very important to me," the 23-year-old Manchester United midfielder said. "It was perfect to get games and play competitive matches on a big stage." He added: "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." Waiting to make an impact Cleverley joined Manchester United as an 11-year-old but played 75 games in three separate loan spells away from Old Trafford before finally making his Red Devils debut in the 2011 Community Shield against Manchester City. Man City 2-3 Man Utd Steven Gerrard was suspended for last Friday's 5-0 win over San Marino, but his return means Cleverley's place in the side in Warsaw is under threat. Club colleague Michael Carrick is another player who could make way, but Frank Lampard's continued absence because of injury does give Cleverley a bigger chance of making it five starts from five for the national team this term. However Cleverley, who made his debut in the August friendly against Italy, is not taking anything for granted. "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." Cleverley was also quick to praise Wayne Rooney, who captained England to their victory over San Marino at Wembley. "Wayne has all the attributes to be a good captain," Cleverley said. "He is a winner. You could tell that before the game because he was quite vocal in the dressing room. "I am not the manager but I would certainly be happy playing under a captain like Wayne Rooney. He is a fantastic player and a good leader."