Moyes defends Cleverley over England place

An online petition has called for the 24-year-old to be banned from making Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad but the Manchester United boss says the midfielder is a "fantastic" player
Manchester United manager David Moyes has hit out at an online petition which has called for Tom Cleverley to be banned from making England’s World Cup squad.

The petition, which has gained over 17,000 signatures, argues that the 24-year-old should not be included in Roy Hodgson’s squad which will travel to Brazil this summer.

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The England boss had earlier rubbished the calls for Cleverley to be axed, and Moyes has also leapt to the midfielder's defence, insisting he is a “fantastic” player who deserves to be in contention for an England place.

“First and foremost I'm surprised the media are picking up on something on social media and making a big case of it, because I think that's wrong if that's the way it's come about,” the United manager said on Friday.

“Tom Cleverley is a fantastic young player who is developing all the time, he's a great trainer, he's someone who is first out, and every day he gives his best in training.

“From that point of view that is why Tom would succeed.”

Hodgson's views on the petition echoed those of the United manager, and the former Fulham and Liverpool boss is adamant he will pay not attention to the criticism surrounding Cleverley.

"It [the petition] doesn't impress me,” said Hodgson prior to England's 1-0 win over Denmark. "He deserves to be in this 30-man group. He's done an awful lot of good."