Cleverley eyeing further international experience with England after Olympics

The Manchester United midfielder has revealed he is finally getting back to his best after London 2012 and is hoping to establish himself as a regular at Old Trafford this season
Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has hailed the experience and fitness boost he gained during this summer's Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old playmaker broke into the United first-team at the start of last season following loan spells at Leicester, Watford and Wigan, but his season was halted prematurely following a recurring ankle injury.

"It was fantastic, I enjoyed every minute of it," he told reporters of the experience.

"It was a bit different from your normal league games, but on a personal level, it was good for me. Including the friendlies I managed to play five games and I feel confident and fit from it.

"It's a shame we didn't get a medal, but the overall experience was enjoyable."

Cleverley featured in all four of Great Britain's games during the tournament, including an impressive display in the 3-1 win against UAE at Wembley, and the midfielder was glad to pick up tournament experience as well as boosting his physical condition.

"I got fitness from it, I feel match fit," he added.

"I played five 90 minutes, which is good because I didn't manage to get much match fitness towards the end of last season.

"And also, it helped me experience-wise in terms of tournament football. It's another tournament, things like penalty shoot-outs I've not had experience in before so it is all good for the future."

Cleverley is still yet to feature for the Three Lions after the London riots hindered his chances of making his bow this time last year against Netherlands, and he will be hoping to make his debut against Italy on Wednesday evening.

"I was in a similar position this time last year, so I'm hoping to train well and win my first cap but it's always an honour to get called up for your country and I was delighted," the 23-year-old added.

"Obviously I had a frustrating season. It always is for a footballer to be injured, but i'm thinking abot getting my head down and hoping to play as much football as possible for both England and Manchester United.

"It will be my first cap, so it is a massive honour for any footballer, and growing up, it is something you dream of.

"I think it's good to get the experience of being with the senior players and meeting the new manager."