Cleverley: “He's One Of My Best Mates In Football”
By Kevin Affleck
Tom Cleverley feels the Hornets have signed a “top player” in Danny Welbeck after the club secured a deal to sign the England international.
Cleverley bounded straight in from training this morning and immediately headed into the back office to welcome his former Manchester United teammate and great friend to the club.
The pair came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford and Cleverley is delighted they are now reunited at Vicarage Road.
“First and foremost we are signing a great player who brings bags and bags of experience and quality to our squad,” said Cleverley. “Secondly, he is one of my best mates in football and it will be great to have another familiar face around here.”
Welbeck, 28, arrives with a rich pedigree. He has 42 England caps and 16 goals; over 200 Premier League appearances for Manchester United, Arsenal and Sunderland and has scored 36 goals in the top-flight of English football.
“He’s a top player,” said Cleverley. “We have not played together for four or five years but we are getting a top player. He works hard for the team, he can finish, he’s got great athletic ability and links the play up very well. We are getting a complete striker and we are lucky to have him.”
Cleverley said he played a small part in luring Welbeck to the club and gave the Golden Boys a glowing recommendation.
“I’ve been in contact with him,” he said. “I won’t take credit for it obviously but I let him know how good the club is, how ambitious we are and what it’s like. We started playing together when we were 14 or 15 so we’ve known each other half our lives. I am two years older than him but he was that good that he played up a couple of age groups.”
Welbeck has been out of action since October with an ankle problem but Cleverley feels the forward can put a bit of rotten luck behind him and be a real asset to Javi Gracia.
“If you look at some of his injuries, they have been twists or breaks so you can’t say he’s injury prone – he’s just been very unlucky,” said the midfield.
“He’s a hard worker, he’ll get himself in the best possible shape and I have no doubts he’ll stay injury free. He’s really going to fit in here. It’s not just me – every one of his teammates will say he’s a real good lad to have around, so I can’t wait for him to get started.”