Aston Villa's Tom Cleverley praises fellow middle men

The Manchester United loanee believes that, in Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood, Carlos Sanchez and himself, Villa have midfield depth which other teams should be envious of.

Tom Cleverley has told AVTV that Aston Villa’s midfield depth is just one of several reasons why fans should be optimistic about the team’s future.

Cleverley, 25, went through considerable struggles over the first half of the season after arriving on loan from Manchester United, with the since-departed Paul Lambert even forced to refute suggestions that he was being forced to start him due to a clause in his contract.

Last month’s arrival of Tim Sherwood has seen him revitalised in a two-man central midfield, however, with the same being said for stand-in captain Fabian Delph.

After his breakout 2013-14 campaign, the England international’s progress had been somewhat disrupted earlier this term, after spending eight weeks out with a dislocated shoulder, but his performances in recent weeks have been back to his old standard.

The pair’s partnership has meant that both Ashley Westwood and Carlos Sanchez have had to settle for spots on the bench over the past few games, though, despite proving two of Villa’s better performers throughout the winter months.

Cleverley admits that he loves lining up alongside Delph but believes that the fact Sherwood has proven commodities like Westwood and Sanchez waiting to be given a chance shows that the club have the talent to be challenging further up the table.

"Delph's brilliant to play with. He’s one of those players who will bring the best out of you," he said.

"Playing against him in training raises your levels but, then again, so does Westy. I don’t think people realise how good Westy is until you actually play with him and see him in close quarters.

"And then we’ve got Sanchez as well, who brings a different dimension if we need him, so we’ve got everything in the midfield to be successful."

It gets even better for Villa, too, with top prospect Gary Gardner earning rave reviews in recent weeks for his performances on loan at Nottingham Forest.

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