Tom Cleverley has not had the best of times since his loan move from Manchester United to Aston Villa, failing to show the form that once earned him an England call-up and a prolonged spell in Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up.
Whatever you think of Cleverley, he now has a fresh chance to impress for the remainder of his loan spell at Villa Park, as new manager Tim Sherwood looks to get the best out of a player who should be performing at a far higher level than he too often manages.
Cleverley has made 23 appearances for Villa so far this season, but the 25-year-old is yet to score or provide an assist – something Sherwood is likely to want to change as soon as possible.
The manager’s first look at the Villa loanee in match action was on Sunday, when his side overcame Leicester City 2-1 in the FA Cup fifth round.
Goals from Leandro Bacuna and Scott Sinclair sealed the win, ensuring Andrej Kramaric’s late strike was nothing more than a consolation, but in the second half in particular, Cleverley upped his game.
The midfielder has plenty of skills in his locker; the trick is using them effectively and consistently.
After the match, we took to Twitter to see what Villa fans thought of Cleverley’s latest performance and you can read a selection of what we found below:
Sherwood managed to make Tom Cleverley play half decent in the Second half yesterday, who knows what else he can achieve— Wil (@will_avfc) February 16, 2015
@JMGray80 Cleverley played much better in the 2nd half yest. If he drives forward (like he did in his first season at Utd) I will praise him— Shelley (@shelley_ozzy) February 16, 2015
Cleverley ain't my favourite player but he does work hard tbh— Mitch (@AVMJL) February 15, 2015
To think that cleverley was in the England squad not long ago. Championship at best— Rhys Beazer ...... (@R_J_Beazer) February 15, 2015
If Cleverley performs like he today for the rest of the season I wouldnt have ant qualms of him signing for us permanently, top draw #avfc— Chris Bedworth (@AVFCBedders) February 15, 2015
@voiceoftheholte never seen Cleverley run so much and in a positive way during in the second half. Has the penny finally dropped with him.— Woody (@woodmeister1003) February 15, 2015