Tom Cleverley finally getting the love he deserves at Watford after Manchester United stint ‘turned sour’
Tom Cleverley is now in his fourth full season at Watford and this time round, dropping back down to the Championship, Hornets fans are starting to realise just how important he is to their side.
The 31-year-old is a name from the past. Next season will mark the 10th since he made his Premier League debut for Manchester United, a journey which has taken him from Old Trafford to Aston Villa, Everton and now Watford.
He left United in a hurry, dropping right out of contention after Sir Alex Ferguson left and eventually finding himself on the receiving end of a permanent move to Watford in 2017, after an initial loan move from Everton.
Since joining Watford, Cleverley has led a contested spell. He’s often received criticism from watching Watford fans but this season is a different story.
For all the controversy and dilemma that’s beset the club this season, Cleverley has remained a constant in midfield and after the turn of the year, and Etienne Capoue’s departure, Cleverley has really upped his game to become the midfield general that Watford need.
His work rate is what sets him apart. His passion and sheer desire to work for the team is unrivalled and Watford fans now see him as an integral part of the midfield, and an integral part of their team’s promotion hopes this season.
Cleverley left United at the start of the 2014/15 season under Louis van Gaal having endured a torrid season beforehand under David Moyes.
That season under the now West Ham boss rather set-up Cleverley’s eventual departure from Old Trafford, and speaking to Manchester Evening News at the start of last year, he gave an insight into what went down that season:
“The hard part for me was the year under Moyes,” he explained.
“The way the fans turned on you, that was my club, I’d been there since 11 years old. For the fans to go as sour as it did, it disappointed me and I was a player that would try 100% every game, it wasn’t a fact of trying, I wasn’t good enough that year.”
From that point, Cleverley’s career could’ve spiralled out of control but to his credit, he’s settled at Watford and now coming into the second-half of his career, he’s become a really rounded and experienced player.
He’ll be crucial in Watford’s bid for an immediate return to the Premier League and should they do so, he’ll book himself a return to Old Trafford to face and hopefully prove his former club wrong.
See what these Watford fans have had to say about Cleverley of late:
Tom Cleverley was practically everywhere again last night. His application has been exceptional over the entirety of this season, and it's really starting to click for him in this midfield 3. The extra freedom to press and be an out and out nuisance has been great. #WatfordFC pic.twitter.com/MjSYlj9CYB
— Watford Analytics (@JordanWiemer) February 17, 2021
Tom Cleverley gets a lot of criticism, but my god the man works his absolute socks off. He’s never going to take the ball round five players, but his constant desire and work rate has been outstanding recently. #watfordfc
— Jack (@JackCian99) February 16, 2021
Refuse to listen to any disrespect to Tom Cleverley. The guy is exactly what you need in a promotion race and never stops running. Absolutely superb #watfordfc
— Sam Ucko🐝 (@Sam_ucko) February 16, 2021
Something something, cling on 1-0, something something, Deeney, something, penalty.#WatfordFC
Jokes aside, Tom Cleverley. What a player.
— Matt Churchill (@geetarchurchy) February 16, 2021