On-loan Manchester United man Tom Cleverley has hailed Aston Villa teammate Carlos Sanchez’s midfield style and believes the tenacious Colombian will prove a huge asset to the club moving forward.
Signed from Spanish outfit Elche in mid-August for a reported £4.7 million fee, Sanchez’s excellent World Cup performances in Brazil lead to high expectations upon his arrival at Villa Park, but his start to life in the midlands has been slower than anticipated, having earned just two starts in five appearances so far.
The 28-year-old’s first 90 minutes for the club in Monday night’s 2-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers earned him solid reviews, however, and Cleverley himself has been more than impressed with his strength and no-nonsense approach.
‘Carlos is a genuine holding midfielder,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘He starts the play up and tackles strongly and I don't think you find many of those type around anymore. He's certainly that type of player.
‘I thought he had a great game on Monday night. He's a great lad. He's quiet around the place but he's settled in really well. On the pitch he's imposing and powerful.
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‘He tackles strongly, he's good on the ball, he's quick and he's good to play with.
‘He's someone that you'd rather have on your side than be playing against, that's for sure.
‘I am sure as the weeks go by, he will get better and better too.
‘He plays for Colombia - and played in the World Cup. That shows his quality.’
With Fabian Delph expected to be sidelined until 2015 after a shoulder operation, Sanchez looks set to enjoy an extended run in the line-up, and should make a successive start on Sunday afternoon when Tottenham Hotspur visit Villa Park.
Nicknamed “The Rock” due to his prowess in the holding role, he earned comparisons to Chelsea legend Claude Makelele during his six seasons with Ligue 1’s Valenciennes before moving to La Liga last August, and Villa fans will hope to see a likeness over the coming months.