Can anyone explain why this guy still plays for Manchester United?

Lovely lad – hard working I’m sure – and he will make a good professional at some club. But, there can be no better symbol of Manchester United’s current malaise, than the continued presence of Tom Cleverley in the United midfield.

Sure, few of the players in the Manchester United team showered themselves in glory against Sunderland on Tuesday – the recently returned Micheal Carrick, for one, certainly needs to rediscover his rhythm in the other midfield slot – but Cleverley, for all his endeavour, is not a United player in our opinion.

He’s like a ghost, the way he silently floats through games, leaving us to wonder whether it would make any difference at all if United simply took him off and played with ten men.

To his credit, he took the corner from which Nemanja Vidic scored against Sunderland on Tuesday evening, but his contribution to the last few games has been so small that you have to remind yourself that he’s on the park. His way of reminding me on Tuesday was to give away a penalty from which the winner was scored.

He would probably be the first to admit that his form for Manchester United hasn’t been great of late. But we can’t remember one game that Cleverley has ever dominated – and if you can’t dominate the odd game from central midfield then you surely don’t belong in a Manchester United shirt.

Manchester United have built their success not only on stars but on super squad players. O’Shea, Brown, Solskjaer, Sheringham and Butt immediately spring to mind. But is Cleverley anywhere near good enough to be an important squad member going forward?

With injuries rife, and big signings yet to be made this season, Cleverley has been given the best chance that he will ever get to nail down a spot in the team. But he simply hasn’t grasped the nettle and United’s midfield has been overrun time and again.

Why is Anderson sitting on the bench while Cleverley continues to make Manchester United look completely awful in the engine room? Anderson too has his foibles but I’d have him in there like a shot ahead of the Englishman.

Robbie Earle was recently asked on a TV show about Tom Cleverley and questioned Cleverley’s function for the team. The commentator replied ‘well he’s neat and tidy’. In a moment of succinct genius Earle said words to the effect that My wife is neat and tidy but that doesn’t mean she’d get in the Manchester United team.

That says it all really. Nice lad. Good pro. But surely not a player for a vintage Manchester United team.

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