Resurgent Aston Villa star Tom Cleverley is not making more forward passes under Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood's arrival has not affected the player's forward passes in any significant manner.

This weekend gone Aston Villa put Sunderland to the sword at the Stadium of Light and fans of the Villans are now hopeful this spells a bright future for the club under new manager Tim Sherwood.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss has certainly won the fans around with his early performances as gaffer and in the way he has turned around the form of several players.

One of those players is Tom Cleverley.

The England international is currently on a season long loan deal from Manchester United. Despite arriving with promise he found himself struggling for a decent performance at Villa.

One problem that has besieged his career recently is an accusation of him passing for ‘passing’s sake’. Cleverley is a good ball player but Villa fans felt he was never moving the ball forward.

Against Sunderland however that did not seem to be the case. The fans were lauding him after the game for getting the ball forward much faster and being generally more direct. Pundits on BBC’s Match of the Day also noticed the change.

But what do the stats tell you. Well, they would suggest this is something of a myth.

Here are Clevlerley’s forward passing stats prior to Sherwood on the Premier League

  PositionTeamFwd Pass GAMEAppearancesMins Played
Tom Cleverley MF Aston Villa / Man Utd 12.29 21 1,725

Here they are after Sherwood arrived…

  PositionTeamFwd Pass GAMEAppearancesMins Played
Tom Cleverley MF Aston Villa 12.67 3 257

A minute improvement from the United loanee.

Perhaps then it is not the quantity of his forward passes that have changed but the quality of them, as well as a more spirited effort from those receiving the ball from the midfield maestro.

Whatever it is, it is working, and Villa fans are hoping to see plenty more of it.

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