Sherwood sweet on Cleverley

The Manchester United loanee scored Villa’s third on Saturday to keep them two points clear of the relegation zone. Cleverley is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with Everton but Sherwood wants to keep him at Villa Park.

The Villa manager said: “He was excellent, Tom. I was a bit worried because I thought he might have been playing for Everton, with his eye on it next season, but he proved he’s really focused on doing the job for Aston Villa and he shows the quality he has.

“He tirelessly works around the pitch but he’s got more than that. He showed a real cool head in front of goal, two in two now so I’m waiting for the next one against West Ham. He’s still auditioning for me, I’m hoping.”

Everton manager Martinez, who has made no secret of his admiration for Cleverley, said: “I worked with Tom in the past at Wigan and he is a player I know really well.

“He came to Aston Villa and as you can imagine he is defending Aston Villa. He has got a very important aim to fight for so we never speak about a player who is not registered with Everton.

“It’s fair to say Villa were the better side in the first half and we were the better side in the second. We couldn’t get through that poor period without damage. I thought the damage of giving a two-goal lead was huge.

“The third goal from Aston Villa against the run of play is probably what gives the home side the three points. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get through the first period without being so damaged.”