Tom Cleverley was forced to close his Twitter account in February due to the constant abuse he received from Manchester United fans, but Aston Villa legend Paul McGrath has nevertheless reached out to the midfielder on the social media site following his switch to the midlands.
Tom Cleverly in I was you I'd ask your agent to take a cut in his fee . Villa is a place you could build a gud name for yourself #game time— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) September 2, 2014
A hectic transfer deadline saga saw the England international complete a season-long loan move to Villa almost 17 hours after the official cut-off point, ending what’s been a testing 18 months for him in Manchester.
A highly-regard prospect coming up through the Old Trafford ranks, Cleverley has made 79 appearances for the club since his first-team debut in August 2011, but a lacklustre 2013-14 campaign has since seen his once-promising reputation take a serious hit.
Also falling out of Roy Hodgson’s plans with the national team, the 25-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements under new United boss Louis van Gaal, but McGrath’s support for his move to Villa Park should come as some comfort.
The former Republic of Ireland international speaks from experience, after all, having made the exact saw move in 1989, before going on to establish himself as one of the greatest ever names to don a claret and blue shirt during his seven seasons with the club.
Winning the PFA Player of the Year award in 1993, Cleverley shouldn’t expect those kinds of honours but the chance of a fresh start at Villa could be just what’s needed to get his career back on track.
With his United contract set to expire after this season, the loan move can reportedly be made a permanent £7.5 million switch in January, meaning the coming months will be largely crucial in determining what the future has in store.