Cleverley blames this for not fitting into United's midfield three

Old Trafford

Tom Cleverley has explained why he didn't fit into Manchester United's midfield three.

Aston Villa midfielder Tom Cleverley has offered up an explanation of why he wasn’t able to fit into Manchester United’s midfield.

Cleverley has revealed he thinks he’s perfect for a three man system in the middle of a team, which is what LvG has been using at United, but says he was playing too deep to have an impact.

“If you looked at the games, the areas I was playing in were a little bit deeper and under different systems. It probably didn’t suit my game perfectly. I like playing in a midfield three,” said Cleverley.

Cleverley’s key passing stats are competitive but could improve if he was moved further forward as he looks to accumulate more final third passes and assists.

  TeamPosGoal AssistAccurate PassSuccessful Final Third PassesAppsMins
Tom Cleverley Aston Villa (Loan) MF 0 74 28 1 90
Ángel Di María Man Utd MF 0 24 11 1 70
Darren Fletcher Man Utd MF 0 143 32 3 243
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 0 35 18 3 96
Juan Mata Man Utd MF 0 135 43 3 267
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 0 85 37 3 270

Fortunately Paul Lambert’s side have players such as Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood who are suited to encouraging Cleverley to get further forward in midfield.

It also offers United fans encouragement that Cleverley could return to Old Trafford as a more refined attacking style of midfielder.

That may not be a popular possibility with the club’s fans at the moment but he has to work hard if he wants to play there for United in the future, because van Gaal already has two solid number tens available.

Juan Mata and Ander Herrera are both capable of playing at the top of the midfield, with the suggestion that Wayne Rooney could also feature in the number ten spot to accommodate both Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao up front.

“All my best games for Manchester United and England have tended to be in a three. That’s a system we play here so it suits me. I want to be more advanced in that three and hit both boxes, that’s what the manager wants, too.”

Whether United will have moved on by the time Cleverley’s loan deal expires, we’ll have to wait and see but either way, if he works hard and becomes a more attacking player, he leaves more options open for himself at the end of the campaign.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch