Tom Cleverley's time at Aston Villa may not have gone to plan so far, but he seems to have raised his game after the appointment of Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood left Cleverley on the substitutes' bench for his first game in charge at the club - a 2-1 defeat against Stoke City - but he immediately recalled him to the starting line-up at the weekend.
Although the Manchester United loanee was not able to stop Villa's poor form, he put in a positive performance and that should offer the side some encouragement for the future.
Villa lost 1-0 to Newcastle, but Cleverley was virtually blameless, with the England international finally delivering a display that showed his capabilities.
|Match||Passes||Shots||Forward passes||Touches||Final Third Entries||Interceptions||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Tom Cleverley||Newcastle vs Aston Villa||25||1||8||41||6||1||1||90|
Keen to get forward, but also dogged in his defending, the 25-year-old offered a lot to the side at both ends of the pitch and Sherwood seems to have given him more licence to get forward.
Cleverley got into Newcastle's final third six times during the contest and his passing was also more incisive than it has been in previous fixtures.
The central-midfielder has generally been criticised for being too keen to pass sideways or backwards, but he continuously looked forward at the weekend
Cleverley directed over a third of his 25 passes forward and if he can keep these sort of standards up then he may be able to finally prove his worth to the Midlands side.