The on-loan Manchester United midfielder could still have a long-term future at Villa Park, according to his new boss.
Cleverley, 25, arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester United on September 2, with the aim of reigniting his spluttering career in the west Midlands.
The midfielder has since made 26 total appearances for the club, but his performances under the since-departed Paul Lambert came in for considerable criticism from the fans, with the Scot even forced to refute suggestions that he was being forced to start him due to a clause in the loan agreement.
After being booed off in last month’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea, the England international found himself dropped for the subsequent league defeats against Hull and Stoke, but Sherwood has since restored him to the line-up and been pleased with the results.
“I’ve been very pleased with him so far,” he said. “I’ve had a few chats with him and I don’t know whether he felt like he had the shackles on him before, but he certainly hasn’t now.
“He’s free to roam and get on the ball and make us play because that’s what we need. We need as many brave players as possible to go and get the ball.
“I haven’t recognised he’s getting stick but when you have been hailed as the next Paul Scholes it puts a lot of pressure on you doesn’t it?”
Out of contract with United in the summer, Villa turned down the chance to exercise their £7.5 million option - per the Daily Mail - to make Cleverley’s spell permanent in the recent transfer window, but the new boss has not closed the door on a potential return.
However, he will be free to talk to other teams as a free agent, and the likes of the Liverpool Echo have reported his interest in moving to Everton, having worked under Roberto Martinez during a previous loan spell at Wigan Athletic.
In addition, Villa’s top-flight status still hangs in the balance with 10 fixtures remaining, leading Sherwood to make no guarantees over future transfer dealings.
“We’re assessing everyone to see what we need to do,” he added. “But Tom Cleverley is a player in his own right. He’s only young and he’s got a big future ahead of him.”