Tom Cleverley
Tom Cleverley will become a free agent this summer with his contract at Manchester United set to expire in June Getty Images

Manchester United's Tom Cleverley could remain at Aston Villa after manager Tim Sherwood confirmed his desire to retain the midfielder next season in light of the club's success in avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

The England international was brought to the Midlands by former boss Paul Lambert on a season-long deal in September 2014 and subsequently made 31 appearances in the top flight as 17th-place Villa secured survival by a three-point margin ahead of Hull City.

With Cleverley's Old Trafford contract due to expire this summer and the 25-year-old having long since been deemed surplus to requirements by manager Louis van Gaal, he has previously admitted he does not expect to play for Manchester United again in the future.

Everton have been repeatedly linked with a potential move for the player this summer, with previous reports even suggesting he had already agreed a move.

Manager Roberto Martinez has robustly denied those claims, though, leaving Sherwood hopeful of keeping Cleverley at Villa on a permanent basis, where he hopes the midfielder can drastically improve his goalscoring output.

"I want the club to talk to his representatives and I want him to stay at Villa," the former Tottenham manager was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "He can score goals and I believe that he can score 10 goals next season."

Criticism at United

Cleverley, who became a target for sustained criticism at United due to a perceived lack of impact, has appeared open to the prospect of completing a permanent switch to Villa Park, crediting Sherwood with helping to boost his inconsistent form after the manager succeeded Lambert in February.

I feel like I'm playing in my best position, confidence is high. Not only among myself but also amongst the team
- Tom Cleverley

"I've really got to like playing for this club in the last few months. This manager, you have to give him credit for getting me where I am over the last few weeks," Cleverley said earlier in May.

"I feel like I'm playing in my best position, confidence is high. Not only among myself but also amongst the team. All those factors help. I'm happy and playing with a smile on my face."

Aston Villa finished an eventful 2014-15 top-flight campaign with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Burnley and return to action on 30 May when they contest the FA Cup final against holders Arsenal.

In-form striker Christian Benteke is expected to lead the line for Sherwood's side at Wembley, although his preparations for such an important fixture will not have been helped by recent speculation suggesting he could be set to join Liverpool over the coming weeks.