MANCHESTER – Tom Cleverley has signed a new four-year contract with Manchester United.
The deal will keep the midfielder at Old Trafford until 2015 and is a reward for an outstanding start to the season which would almost certainly have seen him win his first England cap against Holland had the game not been called off.
One of the substitutes who transformed the Community Shield clash with Manchester City, Cleverley then started four successive Premier League games, including the impressive home victories over Tottenham and Arsenal, before suffering ligament damage to his foot at Bolton last month.
Since then, the 22-year-old has been sidelined, although manager Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to have the Basingstoke-born player back for Saturday's trip to Liverpool.
"Tom is one of the brightest prospects in the English game," said Ferguson.
"For a young boy, he has a good footballing brain which, when coupled with his energy and ability, makes for a player with a fine future ahead of him.
"It's the United way to encourage our young players to make their mark in the first team and Tom has grabbed that chance with both hands."
Like so many promising English youngsters, Cleverley has benefited enormously from the time he spent on loan.
In his case it was an integral role in Wigan's successful fight against relegation last season that toughened him up.
Even so, he was not expected to make such rapid strides, and fitness permitting he can expect to be given a chance to prove his senior international credentials during the build-up to Euro 2012.
"It's been a fantastic start to the season for me, breaking into the first team and getting an England call-up," he said.
"Having grown up at the club, I'd love to be able to make a contribution to United winning more trophies.
"We have a squad with great ability and I can't wait to get started again."