Aston Villa’s revival under Tim Sherwood continued on Sunday as they produced a magnificent display to reach the FA Cup final thanks to a surprise 2-1 victory over Liverpool.
Despite falling behind to Philippe Coutinho’s goal, Villa battled back and were deserving winners thanks to an energetic display of attacking football that caused Liverpool problems all afternoon.
The likes of Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Christian Benteke and Jack Grealish were the star men on a day where the whole team put in terrific performances. And another of their stars to leave Wembley with his head held high was on-loan Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley who once again played a vital part in the win.
Heavily criticised for his performances last season during a disappointing campaign for the club, Cleverley has found his feet again and has impressed since arriving at Villa Park.
The 25-year-old saw his confidence take a huge knock as he was somewhat unfairly made the scapegoat during a turbulent season for the Red Devils under David Moyes. Having been a big part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s title winning side the previous year as well as an England regular, things looked promising for the midfielder and he looked set for a bright future at Old Trafford.
Sadly however things went downhill for Cleverley once the great man retired from management, but thankfully he looks to be on his way back and just like his teammates is thriving as Sherwood continues to transform Villa.
His energy in the middle of the park has been crucial to their style of play and his ability to retain possession linking defence and attack has been most welcome in their new-found style of play.
Playing with more freedom and far less pressure has done wonders for him and he’s playing with a smile on his face once more which is great to see. But with his contract at United set to expire at the end of the season, there is still plenty uncertainty over where his future lies.
It’s unlikely he will be offered a new deal at Old Trafford, but his performances in recent months may just have given Louis van Gaal something to think about over the coming weeks, and it’s not unthinkable to believe he could still play a part in the United squad.
Villa are certainly keen to make his stay at the club a permanent one and are expected to offer him a deal in the near future. But despite a positive campaign personally, will he be willing to sign for a club that has been fighting against relegation for much of the season?
If reports are to be believed, Cleverley has a long list of clubs chasing his signature, and he may well be more inclined to secure a move to a team with European aspirations.
Roberto Martinez has been a long admirer of the England international and so a move to Everton could be likely, and he’s also been linked to the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham as well other European clubs such as Schalke. All options that would certainly tempt him.
With Villa looking like they could be set for a bright future with Sherwood at the helm, Cleverley may well be willing to stick around knowing he is at a club where he is appreciated and feels wanted.
The lure of European football at bigger clubs may prove too tempting however, but one thing’s for sure he has a really important decision to make that will certainly have a big impact on his future and could prove to be the turning point in his career and his hopes of returning to the England set up.