Manchester United youngster Tom Cleverley is currently injured
Manchester United youngster Tom Cleverley is currently injured but would have been in the England squad according to Ian Wright. REUTERS

Manchester United youngster Tom Cleverley could be back in action earlier than anticipated, according to the Daily Mirror.

Sir Alex Ferguson had initially ruled the 22-year-old out until Christmas following the injury he first sustained against Bolton Wanderers, when a typically robust challenge from Kevin Davies damaged his ankle ligaments.

The midfielder was rushed back in to action for the match at Goodison Park but he aggravated the injury to such an extent Sir Alex Ferguson recently claimed his prodigiously gifted playmaker would be absent until Christmas .

The news was a huge blow to Manchester United and their Premier League title credentials given Cleverley's excellent start to life as a first team regular. The former Wigan Athletic loanee's absence also coincided with news Anderson would be out until February, suggesting Wayne Rooney, who has deputised in an unfamiliar central-midfield role at times this season, may have to continue in his withdrawn position.

The Mirror now claims Cleverley is targeting a possible return for Manchester United's decisive Champions League encounter against Basle on 7 December.

The young Englishman, who is in Fabio Capello's tentative plans for next summer's European Championships, is undergoing intensive treatment and could back in three weeks' time.

Cleverley's return to Manchester United's first team would provide Sir Alex Ferguson's side with a much needed fillip as they enter the busy Christmas period.

The player was recently lauded as the best youngster Manchester United have produced since Paul Scholes.

The club's famed former youth team coach, Eric Harrison, who nurtured the iconic 1992 side that contained Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, claims Cleverley is the finest of a potentially great generation of players coming through at Old Trafford.

"Cleverley is the best home-grown young player Manchester United have had since Paul Scholes. No question," Harrison told ESPN.

"It's been a long time coming but they're getting very close to the group I had - Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham - that glorious group which we call the Class of '92."