Neil Cuthbert was coach of the Eccleshill United boys team in Bradford when seven-year-old Cleverley was brought along by his parents in the mid-1990s. He remains close to the family.
Cuthbert told the Daily Mail: "He came to an open training session. He was seven. At that age kids' attention can wander. They don't always focus and concentrate for a whole session. But Tom was different. He would stand at the front of the group with this hunger in the eyes. I would tell him something once and that would be it. He would do it.
"His dad would tell me that at home he couldn't get him in the house. He was always out the back doing little drills that I had set for him.
"His desire was amazing, so was his ability to take things in. He played for our Under 9 team when he was seven but he never feared anything, even though he was small.
"Tom was obsessed with football and still is. His attitude has never changed and I don't think it will.
"His idol was always David Beckham and I understand that. Just like Beckham, Tom will always want to improve and will never think he knows everything. He will never be a big-time Charlie.
"The only time Tom will think he has made it is when he stops playing and can look back."