Start with your pre-season fixtures and work back from there – that’s how Tom Cleverley mapped out his first summer as a head coach.

The Watford boss has been meticulous in his planning and admits to being a perfectionist, with work on preparations for the 2024/25 campaign beginning the day after the loss at Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.

The Watford Observer asked Clevs to explain a little about his approach to his first pre-season as head coach.

“I like a good games programme in pre-season, and I planned our work around the games,” he said.

“I think we have a good programme of games, matches played mainly locally that will be competitive against a variety of standard of teams.

“Once I had those games I worked back from there, and once each training session is planned we then work out what we’re going to do in each specific session.

“Once we’ve done that I’ll then plan my meetings. We have an in-possession meeting, an out-of-possession meeting, a set-piece meeting.

“If there is any time left after that then I like to pull in individual players and go through individual conversations and videos with them.

“The common goal throughout is that everything we do is to improve our players.”

As someone who only hung up his own playing boots little more than a year ago, Cleverley has very recent memories of the coaching he received from his many different managers down the years.

“I think about my coaching style and me as a player a lot, and not just during this pre-season,” he said.

“I try to give the players the absolute best platform in order to be able to perform at their best.

“I ensure no details are missed. The preparation and organisation are something where me being a perfectionist comes to the fore.

“I want every session to be something that can improve each player, and for each player to be able to get the most out of it.

“I think I would like the training I put on if I were a player.

“I’ve loved this summer as a whole, to be totally honest.

“When you’re so passionate about your job and you take so much joy out of seeing your team play well, then this is the most rewarding job there is.

“It’s my dream job and I have enjoyed every bit of my first summer: planning pre-season, planning the squad, trying to do the work in the transfer market.

“I am working towards improving Watford Football Club, which is something I’m passionate about and which I enjoy.”