England captain Steven Gerrard has hailed midfielder Tom Cleverley after the 23-year-old's impressive performance in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Moldova. The Liverpool captain praised the Manchester United man for his contribution in the 5-0 victory at Chisinau.
National team manager Roy Hodgson altered the Three Lions' shape from a rigid 4-4-2 to a more flexible 4-4-1-1, giving the team more flexibility and options in midfield, and Cleverley is key to this formation - as the most advanced midfielder - playing just behind the lone striker.
"He is going to be a really good player. He's only a young boy but he's playing for one of the biggest clubs in Europe and now he's broken into the England team so he's got a fantastic future. It's important when you're young to be able to play in different positions. We'll have to wait and see if he can still play in that role when Wayne Rooney comes back from injury, but he's played there twice against Italy and Moldova and done himself no harm," The Sun quoted Gerrard as saying.
Hodgson has also been impressed with Cleverley's recent displays and compared him with Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has taken up a more advanced role of late for Spain.
"Cleverley, I suppose you could say is an attacking midfield player but he's an attacking midfield player in the same way Cesc Fabregas is. He's quite capable of coming back into a central midfield role and quite capable, even, of coming back to win a ball when it's necessary," the Telegraph quoted Hodgson as saying.
"I think it would be wrong to label what type of player he is. For me, he is just a good midfield player and he took, I suppose, a bit more responsibility for getting closer to [Jermain] Defoe and allowing Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to get on the ball in deeper positions where they are comfortable," the former Liverpool boss added.
England will host Ukraine at Wembley in their second Group H fixture on 11 September.