England international midfielder Tom Cleverley joined Aston Villa on-loan from Manchester United just after the transfer window had closed, as he was given special dispensation to make the move. It could be making of the midfielder’s career.
Cleverley is available to make his Villa debut on Saturday, as the Villans visit Liverpool’s Anfield in the evening kick-off.
The 25-year-old was one of the players who received the most criticism last season as Manchester United finished seventh in the Premier League table.
Even his own fans did not seem to have a good word to say about the former-Wigan loanee. He was a target of United’s boo-boys and was never going to make it at Old Trafford.
There was even an online petition put together against his inclusion in the England World Cup squad which attracted a lot of attention and support.
That was slightly cruel on the midfielder. In the end the fact that he was not in the United team much towards the end of the season prevented him from making the trip to Brazil.
Early in his career Tom Cleverley held a lot of potential and looked like he would go on to become a very good box-to-box central midfielder. He endured a few injury problems in the early stages of his career which did not help his development.
Cleverley enjoyed the best spell of his career out on-loan at Wigan under now Everton boss Roberto Martinez, who he was believed to be keen to re-join at Goodison prior to his move to Villa Park. That spell at Wigan was enough to convince Sir Alex Ferguson to welcome him into the first team fold at Old Trafford.
However, despite winning international caps for England and having fairly regular first team football he has not develop in the way that everybody thought he would. Basically he has not really improved much since his days at Wigan.
Cleverley does not appear to be particularly strong in any of the aspects that make a top level midfielder. He is not that quick, does not seem to have particularly great vision and is not a great finisher.
He is not a defensive midfielder, yet he is not really good enough going forward to be a top attacking midfielder.
He was just not good enough to play in the centre of Manchester United’s midfield and that has been proven by the Red Devils bringing in players that can play central midfield this summer.
Cleverley has now accepted that his future lies away from Manchester United and talked about the criticism he received. He told reporters: “If any footballer gets a bit of stick off their own fans they are going to be hurt. Football is a game of opinions and you can’t please everyone.
“I am happy to get away from some of the negativity. Whenever you are not winning trophies at Man United the players are going to get some stick.
“With me being out of contract at the end of the year if I am being honest I don’t think I would play for the club again.
Cleverley’s United career looks to be over, as he will become a free agent next summer. At Old Trafford he was under constant pressure to perform, but never seemed to be able to justify his place in the United team.
At Villa he will be under pressure to perform. However he will not be under the same intense pressure he would have been in Manchester. Maybe at Villa he can finally thrive and make the most of his career.
He always seemed destined to fail at United and the criticism he received really did not help his confidence. Hopefully he will find some form and confidence at Villa Park, because after the criticism he has received throughout his career he does deserve some success.
Can Tom Cleverley have a successful career at Aston Villa?
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