Tom Cleverley has closed his Twitter account after receiving continual abuse from Manchester United fans.
The English midfielder, who is part of a struggling Red Devils squad, can no longer be followed on @tomclev23, as highlighted by 101 Great Goals:
Cleverley's decision comes during a testing season for the midfielder, and indeed, everyone at Old Trafford.
In a recent interview with Oliver Holt of the Mirror, Cleverley suggested he has been unfairly singled out by fans of the club he has supported since a child:
I feel I've been made a scapegoat a little bit. A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team.
Don't get me wrong, I know I can do better but people are making a big thing about how I don’t score enough goals when that is not necessarily my first job in the team.
Twitter abuse came to a head during a recent hashtag promotion, #AskCarrick, which invited the public to send Michael Carrick—Cleverley's regular midfield partner—questions for the matchday programme.
Cleverley was repeatedly mocked, as noted in Holt's report:
The first #askCarrick: "If you could drop one player from the team, how do you tell Cleverley?"
The second #askCarrick: "Do you watch Cleverley train to feel good about yourself?"
The third #askCarrick: "You can travel back in time. Do you kill Hitler or stop Cleverley being born?"
David Moyes has used Cleverley regularly this season, but like many, the player failed to make a positive impression since Sir Alex Ferguson called time on his career during the summer.
The 24-year-old has made 21 appearances across the Premier League and Champions League, scoring one goal and creating zero assists. He typically patrols the halfway line while his more attacking teammates break forward, a role Cleverley called "under the radar" during his interview with Holt.
Cleverley isn't blessed with great speed, physical attributes or the natural ability to dribble beyond opponents, but he is a tidy passer of the ball.
He has completed 89.9 percent of his passes this campaign—per WhoScored.com—although his work is often belittled for his willingness to retain possession over playing a penetrative ball forward. Cleverley manages just 0.4 key passes per game, less than Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Rafael, highlighting his cautious nature in the centre.
The regular England international also struggles to assert himself against powerful opponents and is easily drowned out.
Despite being a regular England international, Cleverley certainly hasn't lived up to potential shown during the early moments of his career.
Even so, it is disappointing to see the player pushed away from Twitter after receiving abuse. United fans may be unused to consistently poor performances, but constant hate toward a single player isn't going to help matters.
Cleverley will hope to begin impressing during United's upcoming fixture with Arsenal. He last appeared in the 2-1 defeat to Stoke on Feb. 1 and may be called upon to halt the Gunners' charge to the Premier League summit.
Should the player post an excellent performance in a positive result for United, that Twitter abuse may quickly subside.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!