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Saturday, 02 February 2013

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere or Man United's Tom Cleverley: Who is the better player?

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Sqf Soohwan general

The future of the England midfield looks hopeful because of two talented young midfielders playing for two of the biggest clubs in Europe, Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley.

Cleverley has been brought up through the academy at Old Trafford and moulded into a typical Manchester United midfielder.

Wilshere and cleverleyDuring the beginning of the 2011/12 season, Tom partnered Anderson in midfield during a dominant start to the season.

Playing in a slightly advanced midfield role, Cleverley sparked a second half comeback to help United win the Community Shield against Manchester City and played his part in an unbelievable demolition of Arsenal. Unfortunately, a badly timed tackle from Bolton's Kevin Davies sidelined the midfielder and Cleverley could never sustain a decent run of full fitness until the summer.

In deeper positions, Tom has great energy, both defensively - helped by his time as left-back in his youth, and in beginning attacks from deep.

In more attacking positions, Cleverley has two-feet, a quick mind, the ability tospot a through ball, make a good run and a decent shooting technique - check out his goal against Sunderland struck first time.


At the end of the day, Tom Cleverley is a fantastic midfielder and a great fit for Manchester United and their style of play. His flexibility to play anywhere in the midfield and still unfulfilled potential make him an exciting prospect for the present and future for both club and country.

Although they share similarities, Jack Wilshere is a different type of midfielder playing in a different system at the Emirates. Brought up to play Arsene Wenger's famous style of possession football, Wilshere shows great composure for a young player and moves well both on and off the ball. Although he's two years younger than Cleverley, Jack has been playing at a higher level for longer than Tom; another benefit of playing under Wenger.

Similar to Cleverley, Jack has a quick mind and passes well in small spaces. Wilshere started out as a more attacking midfielder but has been playing more centrally and performing very well.

Wilshere and cleverley 2Looking at their younger years, Tom Cleverley developed more in the lower leagues, while at the same time Jack Wilshere developed at the highest level. Having said that, Tom contributed to Leicester City's promotion from League One, received a Player of the Season award during his time at Watford and helped to save Wigan Athletic from relegation. He's had to work much harder and move more obstacles to reach the first team where the same path at Arsenal seems a lot clearer.

But from being thrown straight into the deep end, Wilshere has learned more quickly what it is to play at the highest level - though some will say this caused his 14 month injury hell.

Some will also look at Wilshere's injury as a way to put the player down, but Tom Cleverley's seven-month injury with the under-18 team, shoulder injury at Leicester City, knee ligament injury at Watford and his ankle problems last season just show that young players, with their still-developing bodies, are injury prone and more vulnerable to burn-out.

As things stand, I give Jack Wilshere the edge. His determination in defence, his vision, his ball control and greater experience at the highest level put him slightly above Cleverley. Personally, I'd love to see Jack coming up to Manchester and running the show alongside Cleverley at the Theatre of Dreams.

Although Wilshere may be the better player now. I believe Cleverley has a lot more to offer. Once he adds more consistency to his passing, his decision-making and contributes more goals, I can see Tom overtaking Jack - especially if you look at the players around him. You can certainly predict more silverware coming his way. Which means more title run-ins, cup finals and European matches for Cleverley.

Once Carrick and Scholes move on, it'll be up to Tom to lead the United midfield, possibly alongside Nick Powell. When that time comes, I imagine Tom Cleverley will be the better and more decorated player - especially if Arsenal do fail to qualify for the Champions League this year.

But at this current time, I have to say Jack Wilshere is the better player, but Tom Cleverley is hot on his heels.

When it comes to the national team, both players will give England a strong midfield. But looking around the world you have Thiago Alcantara in Spain, Mario Goetze in Germany, Belgium's Eden Hazard and, of course, Neymar in Brazil. So I can't say much for the future of the England national team. But for the future of world football, it's very easy to get excited with so many great young footballers already playing at the top level.

Calling all football fans: Who do you think is the better player? Who will go on to have the most successful career? Do you think Roy Hodgson can accommodate both of them in his starting XI? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.


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Colin Illingworth



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