Cleverley: Van Persie will only make Manchester United stronger

Tom Cleverley has backed Robin van Persie's imminent arrival at Manchester United, stating that the Arsenal striker will only serve to strengthen the squad.

It was confirmed by both Premier League clubs on Wednesday that a fee has been agreed between the pair, with the Netherlands international due to travel to Manchester on Thursday to complete a medical and add the finishing touches to the move.

Cleverley told ITV: "I don't know too much about it but obviously he's a great player and he'll only make us stronger."

The midfielder was speaking after making his first senior England appearance in a 2-1 victory over Italy in a friendly match in Berne on Wednesday evening.

The Three Lions went behind after Daniele De Rossi headed home from a corner, but a similar goal from Phil Jagielka and a Jermain Defoe wonder strike turned the game around for Roy Hodgson's men.

And the 23-year-old is hoping to cement his place in the manager's new look side.

He added: "First of all it was my debut, a proud moment for me, a big occasion in any footballer’s life. I managed to get on the ball at times, they made it hard for me.

"De Rossi's a good player as well but hopefully I've impressed the manager and i'll get the call-up again.

"I felt we controlled the game in large spells. I played [the same role] against Senegal in the Olympics so I know that role well. I enjoyed it."

Defoe came off the bench to score a stunning winner, cutting in from the left flank before smashing the ball into the top-right corner, which he used to pay tribute to his cousin, Hannah, who died while on holiday in St Lucia in July.

"I'd like to dedicate that goal to my cousin who died in St Lucia, it' would have been her birthday today so it was nice to come on and score, but the main thing was to get a win,” Defoe said.

The 29-year-old, who has now played 49 times for England, was pleased with his goal and insisted that any player, not matter how many times they have represented their country, will always feel pride and have something to prove.

He continued: "Even if you speak to the lads that have more caps than me I'm sure every time they put on an England shirt they want to prove something, not only to themselves but to the manager and the nation.

"Every time I play I always give 100% and as a forward you get judged by scoring goals. It's always nice to score for your country."

Cleverley was not the only player to make his full debut for the Three Lions against the Azzurri, with Jack Butland becoming England's youngest ever keeper and Jake Livermore coming off the bench to receive his first cap.

And Degoe praised the younger generation, and the whole team, for a good performance in an experimental shape, indicating they did just what the boss asked.

He concluded: "Clevz did well tonight, I think with that system it's important for the midfielders to get on the ball and be brave. I think that's what the manager wants and I think the lads were fantastic tonight."

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