MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has signed a four-year deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until the end of the 2014/15 season, the Premier League champions said Monday.
The 22-year-old, whose energy and distribution saw him break into the first team during United’s explosive start to their title defence, damaged ligaments in his ankle a month ago and has been sidelined since.
“Tom is one of the brightest prospects in the English game,” United manager Alex Ferguson said on the club’s website (www.manutd.com).
“For a young boy, he has a good footballing brain which, when coupled with his energy and ability, makes for a player with a fine future ahead of him.
“It’s the United way to encourage our young players to make their mark in the first team and Tom has grabbed that chance with both hands.”
Cleverley has shown glimpses of the potential to be a long-term replacement for Paul Scholes, who retired at the end of last season after helping United to a record 19th English league title.
“It’s been a fantastic start to the season for me, breaking into the first team and getting an England call-up,” Cleverley said.
“Having grown up at the club, I’d love to be able to make a contribution to United winning more trophies. We have a squad with great ability and I can’t wait to get started again.”
United, who travel to bitter rivals Liverpool Saturday, are top of the table on goal difference from neighbours Manchester City.
Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Peter Rutherford