Manchester United's on-loan midfielder Tom Cleverley has given the clearest indication yet that he wants to stay at Aston Villa beyond the length of his temporary deal that runs until the end of the season after declaring that he's extremely happy with life at Villa Park.
The 25-year-old spoke to reporters after scoring the decisive goal in Saturday's crucial 1-0 victory over West Ham United, which moved Tim Sherwood's side further away from the relegation zone.
Cleverley - who has now scored in each of his past three games - has started to rediscover the kind of form that previously earned him international recognition with England, and he puts that down to a regular run of games that he wasn't getting at Old Trafford.
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The £70,000-a-week star endured a difficult 2013/14 campaign under the tutelage of David Moyes last term and looked bereft of confidence following a number of disappointing performances.
During pre-season Cleverley hardly featured for Louis van Gaal and it wasn't long before he was informed by the veteran Dutch coach that he had no future at the Theatre of Dreams, and would be allowed to find a new club to see out the remaining 12 months of his Red Devils contract.
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Manchester United's loss turned out to be Aston Villa's gain as the Midlands outfit snapped up the former Three Lions ace's services, and after a slow start Cleverley is now getting back to his best, much to the delight of the club's supporters.
“I’m playing my football with a massive smile on my face and enjoying myself here,” he is quoted saying by the Birmingham Mail. “We’ve got a great group of lads and I’m getting on well with the manager so those are all factors that show I’m happy.
“I’ve really grown to like playing for this club in the last few months and this manager has got to be given credit for getting me where I’ve been in the last few weeks."
Sherwood's impact following his appointment to replace the sacked Paul Lambert cannot be underestimated as he's overseen a significant upturn in Premier League form as well as guiding Villa to the FA Cup final.
The former Tottenham Hotspur head coach's credentials are not lost on Cleverley, who intimated he'd be willing to put pen to paper on a long-term contract with his current employers if presented with an offer and insisted that money is not the motivation behind his transfer decision.
“First of all you’ve got to be playing in a position where you fit in, and playing at a club where you like the players and the manager," he added. “This club ticks all the boxes so we’ll see what happens.
“First of all the club have to offer me something. I don’t think any Premier League players are going to be short of a quid or two so I think you’ve just got to be happy first and foremost and I am at this club so let’s just see where we go from there.”
Aston Villa fans: Would you like to see Tom Cleverley sign a permanent deal at Villa Park? Are Manchester United making a mistake letting him leave on a free transfer? Share your thoughts below...
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