Wanting to stay is a clever move!

GETTY IMAGES

Tom Cleverley wants to remain in Aston Villa and he has sound reasons to back his desire. By Nick Mashiter.

Tom Cleverley has dropped the biggest hint yet he is ready to stay at Aston Villa and insisted money will not sway his decision.

The on-loan Manchester United midfielder is a free agent in the summer with his future under increasing scrutiny but his winner in the 1-0 victory over West Ham was his third goal in three games and he has earned plaudits for helping haul Villa away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Tim Sherwood’s team are 14th, four points above the bottom three with just two games left.

Villa want to keep Cleverley and he has been linked with Everton — who missed out on his signature last year — but the 25-year-old admits he could be ready to stay in Birmingham.

He said: “I don’t think any Premier League players are going to be short of a quid or two. You have just got to be happy first of all. And I am at this club, so let’s see where we go from there. I think first and foremost you have to be playing at a club where you fit in.

“Where you’re playing in the position where you want to play and where you like the manager, the lads, this club ticks those boxes. We’ll just see what happens but first the club have got to offer me something. Those talks haven’t taken place yet. I just know my contract runs out on June 30 at Man United, that’s my position.”

Cleverley appears to have little future at Old Trafford — he struggled to land a regular role, playing 79 games in seven years.

A petition was also drawn up by fans last year to call for him to be banned from England’s World Cup squad, although he missed out of the final 23 regardless.

But, despite his critics, Cleverley believes he has overcome his own doubts and can return to his best.

He said: “All players have doubts when they’re having a not-so-good patch. I’m no different, but I’ve got my head down and worked hard. With the help of the lads and the new manager I can get back to my best.

“I feel in the last 10-12 games I’m getting back to what I know I can do, that always helps when you’re playing every week in a winning team.”

Sherwood believes Cleverley has had to cope with excess pressure on him after coming through the ranks at United and is tipping him to put himself in contention for an England recall.

“I think he was labelled the new Paul Scholes,” added Sherwood. “There was a lot of pressure on him. He sprung onto the scene. Roy Hodgson has then got a decision whether there are better midfielders than Tom.”

© PA Sport