Rob Edwards has appointed Tom Cleverley as club captain because “he epitomises everything we stand for as a football club”.

The 32-year-old England international midfielder has made more than 170 appearances for the Hornets over two spells – a season-long loan from Manchester United in 2009/10, and then since joining from Everton in 2016.

Cleverley made his first pre-season outing as a second-half substitute against Southampton on Saturday.

“Clevs epitomises everything we stand for as a football club, and the values that I stand for,” said Edwards.

“When I got the job I spoke to him on the phone and thought ‘wow, what a great guy he is’.

“He’s been in dressing rooms at the very top level of the game, and he knows what the top level looks like. But as a person you wouldn’t know as he’s so humble and down to earth.

“He’s extremely hard working, he’s honest and he’s respectful. He’s everything I want in a human being. He has the respect of all the boys and he can drive them by example.”

Anyone close to the pitch at Grosvenor Vale yesterday would have heard Cleverley constantly talking and urging his teammates along during his 30-minute run-out.

“He is a true leader out on the pitch and we need that,” said Edwards.

“When I told the lads on Friday that Clevs was captain I said that it was an important role in the team. But I also said that I was looking for leadership from all my players.

“I encourage all the players to use their voice and be a leader, and we are fortunate that we have six or seven players whose leadership qualities clearly stand out. We have a lot of players who I can lean on and who can help set an example to the group.”