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Leicester loan stint was an introduction to men's football - Everton midfielder Cleverley

Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley says the season he spent with Leicester City when they won promotion to the Championship introduced him to 'men's football'.

The former Manchester United player spent the second half of the 2008/09 season on loan at the Foxes and credits the experience with making him realise what it takes to be a top professional.

"All three of my early loan spells were massive," Cleverley, who also enjoyed temporary stints at Watford and Wigan Athletic in earlier days, told the Daily Express.

"I won the league with Leicester in League One and it was an introduction to men's football if you like.

"Being around characters like Steve Howard and Matt Oakley shows you what it takes. You grow up with the facilities at United and that there is a right way of playing. Then you go there, meet characters who have had great careers themselves but you realise that everything is not perfect and it is an eye-opener.

"Growing up in English football you know you start with the basics of battling in games so that was there for me, but I tried to perfect the technical parts because I knew that was where I could make a difference.

"At Watford, I got really confident there and started to believe in myself. Then at Wigan to work under the manager (Martinez) who is so technically and tactically aware I learnt a lot about being at the top level."

Gerard Laws
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Gerard Laws

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