New Watford boss Tom Cleverley once again used the word ‘creative’ when discussing the upcoming summer of player recruitment yesterday.

A year ago two big names – Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr – went out through the exit door, and nearly all of the money those sales produced stayed inside the building as Watford’s recruitment was light and low-key.

Similarly, in January the Hornets added just one new face, and that was only on loan as Emmanuel Dennis was the single addition to a thin squad.

Now with it seeming likely there will be departures again this summer, Cleverley’s first taste of a transfer window will be one where cunning and contacts may be more of the currency than cash.

“We’ll have to be creative in the market,” he said.

“I think my contacts and experiences as a player could help that, and hopefully coaches will trust me with their players on loan.

“We have a very large scouting network across the world, and I’m sure the club have got really good players on their radar.

“But the reality is we haven’t got masses of money to go out and blow.

“We have to be creative, hopefully keep our best players and I’m thoroughly confident in myself that I can improve anyone that either I have input in signing, or the club sign.

“This part of the job is the newest experience for me.

“I’ve done enough pre-seasons and I’ve done enough schedules and load-planning, but I’ve never recruited a squad together.

“So I’ll be working closely with Gianluca Nani and the board, as well as picking the brains of my  network at the bigger clubs as to what’s available on loan.”

The question always asked of any Watford head coach, when it comes to signing and selling players, is how much of a say will he have?

“It’s a process I’m excited to be part of and I realise how important it is to get the right players to achieve our targets,” Cleverley said.

“So far I’ve been involved in all the conversations and I’m collaborating really well with the board.

“I feel like my knowledge of the game is good and I’ve got a good eye for a player.

“I’m really happy with the squad we have now, and keeping hold of our best players is going to be an important part of the summer.

“But I’m excited by the challenge of building a squad.”

When he was a player at this time of the season, Cleverley would most likely have been counting the days until heading off somewhere hot and exclusive.

It’ll be a different summer now he’s the head coach.

“The finish line is in sight for the players, but the starting line is coming up for the coaches,” he said.

“Planning pre-season schedules and loads, recruitment meetings, getting the staff together to map out how next season looks and what the targets are.

“All that sort of thing takes place over the next two weeks.

“I’m trying to focus as much on Middlesbrough and then after Saturday the planning for next season starts, and I’m really excited about that.

“I feel like we’re a team that will really benefit from a good pre-season with a new set of staff.

“It’ll help us to really improve on the identity we’ve shown.”

When it comes to extolling the virtues of a spell on loan at Watford, Cleverley has the 2009/10 season to draw upon.

“I’ll go back to my own experiences, yeah,” he said.

“And passion for improving players is a reason I got into coaching, and that fire is well and truly burning in me.

“Any young player that was to come to this club on loan or permanently, it really is an enjoyment of mine seeing those players improve.”

With a summer of signing, retaining and losing players ahead of him, Cleverley is about to live out in real-life what so many armchair/bedroom managers recreate on computer games and apps.

Did he ever play football management games?

“I did a bit, but when I was 14 or 15,” he laughed.

“I’ve never really been a big gamer but what I’m feeling now is a nice feeling.

“You’ve got to work incredibly hard to be successful, often doing 12 to 14-hour days at the training ground.

“But being fully responsible and overseeing everything for a club that you feel so strongly about makes it even more special.

“I’m very grateful to be in this position.”