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.
|Team||Pos||Goal Assist||Accurate Pass||Successful Final Third Passes||Apps||Mins|
|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.