Tom Cleverley comeback could be on cards for Leicester City
Young Manchester United star Tom Cleverley would be welcomed back with open arms by Leicester City.
City chief scout Steve Walsh has admitted that Cleverley "may well get some more time" at the Walkers Stadium, but United will dictate the future of the 21-year-old midfielder.
Cleverley had a successful loan period at City last season and Walsh told the Mercury: "It all depends on United, because he remains a big part of their plans.
"Tom's a smashing lad and a good team player with great energy levels who brought something else to the table.
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"He brought us athleticism that we sometimes needed in games and he scored a couple of goals."
Cleverley made 10 starts for City and scored twice before his season came to a premature end when he dislocated a shoulder in a 1-1 draw with Colchester at the Walkers Stadium on March 21. After successful surgery, he stayed in touch with City and was a guest at the final home game of the season against Scunthorpe, when the League One trophy was presented.
It was Cleverley's second return after being given a "proper farewell" before the Leeds game on Easter Monday.
"Everyone made me feel very welcome at Leicester and I enjoyed my time there," said Cleverley at the time. "It was just a shame it had to come to an end with the injury,"
A source close to Manchester United said that, for all his promise, Cleverley had been unable to make his big breakthrough at Old Trafford.
The nearest he has come to the first team was an appearance in the "shadow squad" for the Carling Cup tie at QPR last November – but he did not get on to the field.
"Tom won't want to be treading water in the reserves and going out on loan is a good option for him," said the source.
Walsh said David Beckham had been in a similar situation early in his career. He said: "Beckham went on loan to Preston ( in 1995) and it can help youngsters in their growth and development as men."
Other Manchester United youngsters have benefited from loan spells away from Old Trafford.
Of the current first-team squad, Ben Foster, Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson and Lee Martin have had spells at Watford, Sunderland, Wolves and Nottingham Forest respectively.
Former United loan players who have moved on to other clubs include Chris Eagles, who helped Burnley win promotion to the Premier League, Danny Higginbotham, who helped keep Stoke in the top flight, and Gerard Pique, who lifted the Champions League trophy for Barcelona after their 2-0 victory over United in Rome last month.
City have added another pre-season friendly to their programme with a City X1 playing Hinckley United at the Greene King Stadium on Wednesday, July 15 (7.30).
City midfielder Andy King is expected to be on the bench as Wales face Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier in Baku today.