Tom Cleverley has made headlines today by speaking out about the online abuse coming his way and I have to agree: these Twitter people who are attacking him don’t know anything about football.
To be brutally honest, I think footballers should get off Twitter completely because the people on there don’t even watch you play. Twitter is all about hearsay and uninformed opinions. There’s a mob mentality where people will pile in on the same target just to be a part of something.
A lot of the Twitter crowd who are abusing people like Cleverley are not even Manchester United fans but they are judging him as a Manchester United player. First they attack him for his style of play, and now they try and pick holes in his interview, making fun of him again.
The real fans who actually go to games and watch MUTV will know the quality he has having seen him come through the ranks. But on the internet everyone has an opinion on Manchester United – it’s just like when England play, all of a sudden people have an opinion. And these are people who don’t know anything about football.
As an England player at Manchester United, Cleverley is the easiest of targets, and when someone gets on to his case, straight away everyone follows like a flock of sheep. But to be honest, if you are on Twitter you might as well be called Larry the Lamb – because that’s what you are: a lamb to the slaughter.
I find it totally ridiculous. I can’t believe people spend their lives on there giving it out to footballers. Don’t they have anything better to do with themselves? I have got no time for Twitter, no interest in it whatsoever.
I really hope that Cleverley hasn’t invited even more abuse by coming out and speaking to the Mirror like that. It might have caused a snowball effect where now people are taking the mickey for what he said in the interview – especially about playing in a Spanish style – without listening to the defence he mounted of himself. I don’t know how good it will be for him.
There is a case, though, that he can’t moan too much about the abuse he has got on there, because he has set up his account in the first place and put himself on Twitter. He has started the conversation just by being on there: if you delete your account then you are immune from all that rubbish.
It’s like this blog. I never read the comments. People tell me about it though. When I bump into people and they recognise me or my name, they say they read this blog and tell me some of the things written below it. They say some of it is unbelievable. I say, ‘that’s good because I am getting the hits, but I don’t want to read it’. Because for every one good comment there will be five bad ones.
That’s just symptomatic of the internet as a whole. And it’s amazing that so many footballers get involved in it. Just get off Twitter. When I was a player we weren’t even allowed to use headphones to listen to music on the coach; now they are listening to their music and doing their twittering as well – or tweet, or whatever they call it.
You think to yourself: how are managers allowing this to happen? How can they believe their players’ heads are right if they are doing all that nonsense? Players are tweeting during games and at half-time – it’s not for me. You wouldn’t have seen this under Sir Alex Ferguson, that’s for sure.
I feel very sorry for Cleverley. Everyone is turning on him and perhaps those great early expectations haven’t been fulfilled. Now he isn’t matching those standards people are going too far the other way - and he is unfortunate to be getting so much stick.
When he first came through he looked very talented but you are only as good as the players around you and if they not aiding you, if the experienced players are not helping you, then you will struggle. With United failing to hit form, people are making him a scapegoat for passing the ball sideways but in truth it’s the whole team who are underperforming.
He has had to dig in and run around and make tackles while United struggle, and that isn’t his natural game; he has lost his path just as Manchester United have done the same. At the moment they are playing without a system and look like a team in the bottom half of the table.
It’s the worst situation to bring in a younger player; if you’d have brought Ryan Giggs into this team as a youngster he would have struggled. The experienced players are too worried about their own games to help out players like Cleverley.
In terms of a role model for Cleverley, look at Darren Fletcher. When he first came into the team, everyone was questioning his ability and asking what it was that he actually did. They said he was Fergie’s son. But he got through it by sheer force of character and on the basis of his performances, and that changed people’s opinions of him.
You don’t see Darren Fletcher on Twitter.