Manchester United misfit Tom Cleverley claims joining Aston Villa was an easy decision, and said that the opportunity to learn from Champions League winning midfielders like Paul Lambert and Roy Keane can only help him improve his own game.
The 25-year-old put pen to paper on a season-long loan at Villa Park that will bring him to the end of his Red Devils contract, with the Midlands club retaining an option to make his move permanent upon the completion of the current deal.
Cleverley had fallen out of favour at Old Trafford, and made a scapegoat for Manchester United's general decline over the past 18 months following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Under Louis van Gaal the 13-time capped England international was finally deemed surplus to requirements, and to the delight of most Red Devils fans was finally shipped out before the transfer deadline.
Reflecting on a frustrating spell that has seen his reputation nosedive over the past couple of seasons, Cleverley insists that he is now looking forward and is determined to prove that Manchester United's loss will be Aston Villa's gain.
Tom Cleverley quotes:
"The prospect of working under the manager and Roy, who were both fantastic midfielders in their playing careers, made the decision to come to Villa an easy one," he told the club's official website.
"I'm looking forward to working with them but also the other really good midfield players that the club have, like Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood and other new lads like Kieran Richardson, Joe Cole and Carlos Sanchez.
"The manager told me the way that he'd like me to play and it all sat perfectly for me. I'm very happy to be coming down to play for Villa."
End of an era
Cleverley's departure from Manchester United brings an end to a 14-year spell with the club, having initially joined the Premier League giants as an 11-year-old scholar in 2000.
Loan spells at Leicester City, Watford and Wigan Athletic followed before his competitive first-team debut for the Red Devils against Manchester City in the Community Shield in August 2011.
He won his first Premier League title in 2012/13 in what turned out to be Ferguson's final season as manager.
Looking to the future
Now, with less than 12 months remaining on his £30,000-a-week contract, Van Gaal deemed it best to sever ties with the Basingstoke-born midfielder, rather than see him endure a frustrating season on the periphery of the Manchester United squad.
The summer arrivals of Ander Herrera and Daley Blind have squeezed Cleverley further out of first-team reckoning, but at Aston Villa he'll have a chance to rediscover his best form and prove to the Dutch coach that he was wrong to wash his hands of him.
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