The mere fact Paul Lambert has made public Aston Villa’s option to tie down Tom Cleverley in January, suggests the Manchester United midfielder is part of his long-term plans.
Although the Scot didn’t go as far as confirming he would be offering his loan man a permanent deal, it’s clear he’s been impressed with Cleverley in the first part of his loan spell.
Lambert said: “We have an option on Tom. We have not gone into great detail but he has played well. He was the one lad who was busy on Saturday [at Everton]; he has so much to offer.
Having fallen out of favour at United, Cleverley could have joined the Toffees in the summer but instead opted for Villa Park which was certainly the better choice.
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Everton’s 3-0 win showed they are still the better side, but playing for an improving Villa, Cleverley will get the game time needed to restore his confidence and get fans back on side.
Most importantly though, regular starts increase his chances of getting back into the England frame, where Cleverley’s found himself in the international wilderness despite earning 13 caps since 2012.
In the absence of teammate Fabian Delph through injury, the emphasis and responsibility to make Villa tick shifts over to the Three Lions regular of the last qualifying campaign under Roy Hodgson.
Cleverley’s next chance to shine comes in Monday night’s kick-off at QPR, where Villa are in desperate need of stopping the rot, priced at 21/10 for a first three points in five games.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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