Ex-Man Utd star Tom Cleverley handed permanent job as Watford manager – Mirror Online


Watford have appointed 34-year-old former Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley as the club’s full-time manager following a successful period as interim boss





Tom Cleverley has been given the Watford job on a full-time basis




By


Felix Keith


Sports Reporter



  • 16:53, 24 Apr 2024

  • Updated



    17:50, 24 Apr 2024






  • |



  • comments

Tom Cleverley has landed the Watford manager’s job on a full-time basis after impressing as interim boss.

Cleverley has earned the job after negotiating a difficult run of fixtures against some of the Championship’s best sides.

Watford

have picked up five draws and one win from his seven matches as interim manager, despite coming up against five of the league’s top seven.

The 34-year-old retired from playing last summer due to injury and has enjoyed a fast rise to management, having started out as Watford under-18s coach. He made 182 appearances for the Hornets and was club captain in his last season as a player at Vicarage Road.

Cleverley came through the

Manchester United

academy and made 79 first-team appearances for his boyhood club and helped them win the 2012/13

Premier League

title. But his most settled spell came at the end of his career at Watford, where he had previously spent two stints on loan.

Watford are 15th in the Championship, seven points clear of the relegation zone. Cleverley succeeds Valerien Ismael, who was sacked in March after winning just 13 of his 48 matches in charge. They have just two Championship games remaining, against

Sunderland

and Middlesbrough.

With Watford clear of the regelation zone and short of the play-offs, Cleverley already has one eye on the 2024/25 season. Speaking after their 0-0 draw against Hull on Saturday, he said: “It’s [about] finding that balance between really shoring us up at the back, because the games I saw earlier in the season and against

Southampton

last week we’ve been too open, and when we play three at the back and are solid we look a little bit toothless in attack.

“Everyone says you need a 25-goal striker, but the last time we got promoted I think our top goalscorer was on about 10 or 11. We know how to have a challenge at one end of the pitch without having a prolific goalscorer, and I’m happy with our forwards. So it’s really finding that balance between being an attacking threat and tight at the back.”








Tom Cleverley has lost just one of his seven games in charge of Watford


(



Image:

Alan Cozzi/Watford FC/Getty Images)

He is confident the squad can kick on and challenge for promotion next season. “We’ve played five of the top seven since I came in and competed in absolutely every one of them,” he said. “Alright, we’ve probably not done enough to win four or five of the games so far but we’re at the level.

“I want us to take massive belief from this that we can continue to improve with a strong pre-season. If we can do that then I have no doubt that we can be at the right end of the table challenging for promotion.”


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