Paul Lambert under no obligation to play Tom Cleverley

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Paul Lambert has confirmed there is no contractual agreement forcing him to play on-loan midfielder Tom Cleverley - sparking confusion amongst Aston Villa fans. 

Cleverley has started 20 games for Villa this season but is without a goal or an assist. Not performances you would expect from a Manchester United player. 

When asked about any clause, Lambert responded: "I don't pick through that, it's nowhere near."

Fan favourite? Think again

Cleverley is no stranger to being on the wrong side of supporters.

After having years of abuse from United fans, the on-loan midfielder received ironic cheers when he was substituted in Saturday’s defeat to Chelsea at Villa Park.

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“It is not nice to hear. Tom is one of these guys who never hides from the ball,” said Lambert. 

Online petition

“He keeps on going with the ball and that is a big testament for him that he keeps doing it."

Social media has never been nice to Cleverley either and he was forced to shut down his Twitter account after the amount of abuse he was getting from United fans.

This then escalated to another level when an online petition was set up attempting to stop him from going to the 2014 World Cup in Rio.

“Tom wants to do well here and sometimes he may be trying too hard which can go against you,” said Lambert.

Not a hard decision

Lambert dropped out-of-form striker Christian Benteke for the Chelsea clash last weekend claiming "it wasn't a hard decision."

"Christian and I spoke numerous times and on his own admission, he knew he hadn’t been playing well. I had to change something and it very nearly worked,” said Lambert. 

Villa are in a dangerous situation and currently sit two points off the relegation zone. Lambert's side face Hull on Tuesday before an important FA Cup clash with Leicester on Sunday. 

If Lambert can drop Benteke, he can surely drop Cleverley. Either way, Villa need a change of fortune if they are to stay in the top flight. 

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Tom Cleverley
Premier League
Manchester United
Aston Villa

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