Roy Hodgson hits out at 'Ban Tom Cleverley from the World Cup squad' petition by fans

Under the heading "Ban Tom Cleverley from the World Cup squad", an online petition has attracted over 10,000 signatures

Roy Hodgson's decision to keep faith with Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley for Wednesday's friendly against Denmark has prompted strong criticism from England fans.

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Under the heading "Ban Tom Cleverley from the World Cup squad", an online petition has attracted over 10,000 signatures, but Hodgson insists he will not be swayed by public opinion when it comes to selecting his squad.

"That [the petition] doesn't impress me, I must admit," said Hodgson. "The fact is Tom Cleverley, from the moment the Euros ended, has been a part of the England set-up, he's played some very good games for us, he's been a very useful member of our group.

"Quite frankly, I saw no reason, when selecting a larger group of players here, to leave him out of the team because, perhaps at this moment in time, his team isn't doing well and he's receiving criticism for it.

"I don't think it's really correct, if I'm to be honest, that people should single out one player for Manchester United's lack of success this season.

"I don't think you can expect me as a football person and football coach to have any sympathy with that, and I would like to think that I'm not going to have the England team selected in the future by petitions from various people who are holding it against one person for a team's lack of success.

"So as far as I'm concerned, Tom Cleverley deserves to be in this group of 30, he's done an awful lot of good for us.

"Whether he'll make the 23 or not will of course depend on a lot of things, not least of all how he does in the next couple of months. But that doesn't just apply to Tom Cleverley, that applies to a good many players.

"I'm disappointed that Tom, as a sensitive young man, has got to bear that burden, but I know one thing - he will come through it and when he does come through it and Manchester United start winning again, and he's starting to get praise for his performances, he'll be stronger for it."

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