After a storming start to the season, an ankle injury sustained at Bolton in September - and subsequently aggravated the following month at Everton - ruled the 22-year-old out for the majority of the campaign.
Rather than allow himself to mope, however, Cleverley adopted a proactive approach to his return to action.
"The first couple of weeks was just basically resting and staying off my feet," he told Fight to the Finish, the club's official diary of the 2011/12 season, out now.
"That helped massively. Then I got back into the gym from then for about two months and worked massively hard with [physiotherapist] Neil Hough, [head physiotherapist] Rob Swire, the doc [Doctor Steve McNally] and the hard work paid off. I definitely filled out a bit.
"When you’re not on the pitch you can work on other areas. I did work with video analysis, I worked hard with [strength and conditioning coach] Gary Walker in the gym on my upper body, and I did vision work too.
"It’s a fantastic training ground because you can work hard on all aspects of your game when you’re injured. Everything I could work on, I worked on. I’ve done everything I can while I’ve been out."
Cleverley's ankle injury, sustained under a poor challenge from Kevin Davies, was the latest in a lengthy line of sizeable setbacks for the midfielder, who has also suffered a broken leg, dislocated shoulder and knee ligament damage in his fledgling career.