Cleverley keeping his feet on the ground
Tom Cleverley insists his rapid elevation into Manchester United's starting line-up has not changed him.
Although he had a successful spell at Wigan Athletic last season, Cleverley could hardly have predicted he would start United's first three Premier League games.
Not only that, he has gained England recognition as well, keeping his place in Fabio Capello's squad for the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales after initially being called up for the postponed friendly with the Netherlands earlier this month.
Yet the 22-year-old is refusing to get carried away by all the plaudits, which will only magnify following yesterday's total humiliation of Arsenal at Old Trafford.
"Although I feel I improved in pre-season, I am still the same player and the same guy," he said. "Just because I am playing in United's first team, that doesn't all of a sudden make me a great footballer.
"It is a bit strange when people are talking about you, but in my head I am still the same footballer who was sent out on loan to Wigan last year. The only difference is that I am turning out for Manchester United now."
With barely anyone noticing, Sir Alex Ferguson has transformed an ageing and, some argued, overperforming squad into one full of youth, energy and vibrancy.
The standard of play Arsenal produced yesterday may be open to question, but not the quality of United, who systematically took the Gunners apart, inflicting upon them their worst defeat since the 19th century.
Yet the mantra within the Red Devils camp is that the season is still only three games old. "Nobody wants to get too carried away," said Cleverley. "But this is a youthful squad and it is exciting to be part of it.
"Some of us younger lads don't know what it is like to win the Premier League yet but that is where the experience of others comes into it. A few older players left the club in the summer but we have still got experience in abundance."