Tom Cleverley has developed into one of the Premier League’s most exciting young talents. After pushing his way into the first team plans at Manchester United, Tom has earned himself a place in the Team GB side for the Olympics. Set to play a pivotal role, SoccerBible caught up with Cleverley to get his opinions on the players to look out for, playing alongside Giggs and of course David Beckam's omission...
What's your reaction to be included in the Team GB squad?
Tom Cleverley: Yeah obviously I'm delighted, it's been a bit of a frustrating season with injury and then I was a bit disappointed not to get into the England squad, but this is definitely a great honour to represent your country. And it's a unique opportunity, not just normally but in the Olympics, and a lot of great players haven't had the opportunity.
Have Team GB got their eye on Gold?
TC: Yes definitely. We've got a great squad and a great set of players, there's a good mixture and we all know each other quite well. I know British and English teams always say we're going into a tournament to win and then sometimes disappoint, but we are genuinely going for gold.
Are you looking forward to the prospect of linking up with players from the different nations?
TC: These are exciting players and it'll be new experiences, it'll be a little bit different as you're not just playing for England but for Great Britain, but it's an experience I'm looking forward to.
Are there players you've grown up playing with in the youth set-ups, players outside of your current club who are friends?
TC: There are players I've played with plenty of times at under-21's, and played against at youth team level, reserve team level and then at first team level. We all know each other pretty well, players like Bertrand, Richards, Sturridge and Danny Rose, there are a lot of players there who all know each other well and are all good mates.
Your club-mate Ryan Giggs has been called up, would you say he'd be better in a central or wide role?
TC: Well he can do both, he understands the game inside out is probably the most experienced player in the world, plus he's a great guy to have in the squad.
Must be a bit gutting Beckham not being included, it would have been great to see Giggs and Beckham on the pitch, and for yourself what was your reaction is he a hero of yours?
TC: Beckham has been someone I've looked up to growing up, and as our paths haven't crossed at United it would have been nice to have played with him. At the end of the day though, that's not my call and we've got great players in this squad so you just get on with it.
Outside of Team GB, are there any players and teams in particular we should look out for?
TC: In our group Senegal are strong, and then you've got Uruguay whose over-age players to pick from are world class in Suarez, Cavani and Forlan. Then the obvious ones in the other groups are Spain and Brazil. I'm not sure if David De Gea is going to be there, but Spain have got players like Thiago and Munain who are experienced players despite being young. So it's going to be tough to get Gold, but we're confident we can do it.
Brazil have got some quality on show with the likes of Neymar, Ganso and Lucas, and there's the upcoming friendly on 20th July for Team GB against Brazil?
TC: Well there's no denying that you're always going to get quality players from Brazil, but hopefully we can play their team and overcome them. But it's a good one to play, get used to being back on the pitch and hopefully get a marker down for the tournament.
You opt to wear the Predator LZ boots, what makes them stand-out for you?
TC: Well first of all when you look at them! But they are the most comfortable boot I've ever worn and that's the main thing. I've been doing a bit of training out of season in them and I'm happy.
Do you feel the benefits of the Lethal Zones?
TC: Yeah I need to hit a few more balls in them, but I'm feeling it. I feel sharp in them and they feel a bit lighter, so you've got that extra yard.
Predator no longer has a leather boot, would you like to see them return or are you happy in synthetic?
TC: I'm happy with it as it is.
Have you tried out the F50 adizero or adiPure, are they for you?
TC: Yes I did, I was in the adiPure this time last year, but when the new Pred came out I preferred that one so I moved.
Are you looking ahead to England and the 2014 World Cup?
TC: Yes, but there's a lot of football to be played between now and then. It does stand-out a World Cup in Brazil, and I'll be close to my prime at 24 years old. Hopefully I can get a good couple of years for my club and then start taking the stage internationally.
Do you feel confident or is there a weight of responsibility as players like Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes move towards the end of their career, is there pressure on yourself and Wilshere to move England forward?
TC: No I don't feel any weight, it is a big responsibility but that comes with playing for clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, but I always feel more excited than nervous playing for my country.
Do you think the England coaching set-up is changing to become more like Spain and Germany, are we becoming more technical to compete in the modern game?
TC: I'm not sure to be honest, yes they've got their systems but they're working with World Class players who have been winning everything for the last 3 or 4 years so that helps. But I do think our coaching has developed over the years.
Finally, who's your favourite player of all time and who do you look upto in the modern game?
TC: My favourite player of all time that I've been able to watch would either be Eric Cantona or David Beckham, and at the moment it's Paul Scholes.
SoccerBible was speaking to Tom Cleverley ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, and part of the Team GB kit bag Tom will receive his official adidas Team GB sweatbands available from shop.london2012.com. Don't forget to leave your opinions on Team GB and the Olympics online, on Twitter and on Facebook.