Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has praised young midfielder Tom Cleverley.
The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Wigan Athletic and has come back to Old Trafford a required player, after Paul Scholes retired.
Cleverley was one of his side’s best in a 2-1 friendly win over Barcelona in Washington on Saturday, putting in a performance that excited his manager.
“With Paul Scholes retiring and Darren Fletcher still recovering from his virus it’s an area in which we have to find a solution for but that’s why we played Cleverley today,” Ferguson said.
“Cleverley physically is not the strongest lad, but he’s wiry, he has a great idea of the game, he is a good footballer. So for him tonight was a big day.”
“I thought he was the best player. His discipline was terrific, he’s a quick player, he’s a quick passer ball, he’s got good eyes. So he’s a big, strong possibility for us to start this season.”
Ferguson also maintained he had made the right decision by signing young goalkeeper David De Gea as a replacement for Edwin van der Sar, who has retired.
“Replacing Edwin van der Sar is very difficult. He was a great goalkeeper,” he said.
“But the benefit we have with De Gea is that he is only 20. The qualities that stood out for us are his great composure and use of the ball.”
“He is quick and agile, which is something we banked on. When we assessed him I thought he was the right goalkeeper to take.”
Mexican striker Javier Hernandez was not in action after suffering concussion at training, but Portuguese winger Nani, who scored the game’s opener, feels the forward will be fine for Sunday’s Community Shield match against Manchester City at Wembley.
“I think he’s okay now,” Nani said.
“I think he needs a couple days to come back to training, but he’s feeling very good.”
Nani was pleased with the team’s performance as they were able to beat the side who defeated them in the Champions League final at Wembley in May.
“It was good. It’s always good to play against Barca. It’s always a good game and I think the team did well.”