After Everton signed midfielder Tom Cleverley, we spoke with SB Nation Aston Villa blog '7500 To Holte' about their observations on the player. Cleverley had an excellent loan season with Villa, which led to his call-up to Roy Hodgson's England national squad a couple of days ago. His contract with Manchester United ends officially on June 30th, the last day of the 2014-15 season.
Our thanks to Robert Lintott, managing editor over at '7500 To Holte' for chatting with us. Villa were widely expected to secure the services of the player after his resurgence under manager Tim Sherwood - read Robert's piece here.
RBM - Can you tell us what we can expect from Tom Cleverley, both good and bad?
RL - You'll get a player who, even at his worst, doesn't make too many mistakes. The problem then is that he's the type of player who also doesn't help at all. He'll make short passes that go sideways or backwards. There's no ambition.
But when he's playing well he can be a vital cog in the midfield. Under Tim Sherwood, Cleverley was a creator. He worked mostly up the right flank and made smart runs, good passes, and even had an eye for goal. If you get that Cleverley, this will turn out to be a fantastic deal. He deserves the England call up he just got, for what that's worth, and he's capable of being a great midfielder.
RBM - Was his decision to go to Everton purely financial? Any regrets?
RL - I have no idea what he was thinking, actually. His career was basically dead in the water and he became a player worthy of an England call up under Tim Sherwood. Unless Villa were offering him a slap-in-the-face deal (and they very well could have) it seems strange for him to leave. But he's lived in the Northern part of England for a while and maybe wanted to return. Plus Everton definitely have a better chance of getting back to Europe next season than do Villa.
RBM - What is the best position for Cleverley on the field, that plays to his strengths?
RL - Well, he really shined in a sort of right-of-central midfield role where he was allowed the freedom (and encouraged) to create. So, there I guess.
RBM - Off the pitch, what do you know about him? Is he a vocal leader?
RL - I don't know too much. He always talked the talk and never was much of a distraction. But I'll be honest, unless someone is being wildly stupid I don't tend to pay much attention too that stuff.
Thanks again to Robert for chiming in.