x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Young backs 'worthy' Cleverley after England call-up for Holland

Capello gives midfielder an early gift before he turns 22 on Friday, in place of the injured Wilshere.

An ankle injury for Jack Wilshere, left, has opened the door for Tom Cleverley to play for England.
An ankle injury for Jack Wilshere, left, has opened the door for Tom Cleverley to play for England.

Ashley Young expects Tom Cleverley, his new Manchester United teammate, to grasp his England opportunity with both hands.

Less than 24 hours after his outstanding second-half cameo in the Community Shield win over Manchester City at Wembley, Cleverley was drafted into Fabio Capello's squad to face World Cup runners-up Holland at Wembley tomorrow.

The only surprise for Young is that Cleverley, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Friday, had to wait for injuries to rule out Jack Wilshere and Michael Carrick before receiving the good news.

"Tom is worthy of his place in the squad," said Young.

"I actually thought he might have been in it earlier. It is a massive achievement but I have worked with him for a few weeks now.

"He did really well on tour and his performance [in the Community Shield], for such a youngster, was excellent. He is a confident person and controlled the game."

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, had already declared that Wilshere would not face the Dutch due to an ankle injury, but Capello had included him in the 25-man squad on Saturday.

For Young it promises to be a particularly significant week, after collecting a first winners' medal for his new club and also being in the England party.

Young exchanged with Micah Richards, who is also in the squad, over the City defender's challenge at Wembley. "When you meet up with England, you forget everything although, in any case, as we won, I was happy," he said.

Meanwhile, Alan Thompson, the Celtic first team coach, wants Kris Commons to withdraw from the Scotland squad for the friendly against Denmark at Hampden tomorrow night.

The midfielder turned up yesterday with a foot injury, sustained in Sunday's Premier League win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie, and then returned to Lennoxtown for treatment. Commons has not ruled himself out and will report back to Craig Levein today, but Thompson does not believe the game merits taking any chances.

"I think the important word is friendly," the former Celtic midfielder said. "Had it been a qualifier for Scotland then it puts a different slant on it.

Robert Earnshaw, the Wales striker, has hit out at the Fifa world rankings, and insists Gary Speed's men will be paying no attention to them as they look ahead to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Wales lie joint 112th in the standings, level with Faroe Islands, who were seeded above them at the recent draw for the 2014 qualifiers.

And Earnshaw believes their current position is false given the calibre of players such as Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

He said: "I think the rankings are fake, they don't tell the truth.

"I know they have to have them and put everybody into groups when they need to be drawn but they don't tell the truth about what is really going on".

Earnshaw, who has 54 caps and 16 goals to his name, has been buoyed by Wales' Group A draw for those World Cup qualifiers.

They have avoided drawing big names such as Germany, Spain and Holland and are grouped with Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland and Macedonia, who will be coached by the former Wales boss John Toshack.

In Spain, Nacho Monreal, the Malaga left-back, has been called into the squad for tomorrow's friendly against Italy in Bari, the Spanish Football Federation have confirmed.

Monreal, who joined Malaga from Osasuna this summer, replaces the injured Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. The 25-year-old Monreal has won four caps for Spain.

The federation also confirmed the Barcelona midfielder Xavi would miss tomorrow's game because of an injury to his right leg.