Tom Cleverley is hoping to lead by example as one of Watford's more senior squad members, with their Championship campaign kicking off tomorrow.

The midfielder said he knew what to expect from a Neil Warnock side as the Hornets prepare to host Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road, but knows some of the younger squad members might be in for a bit of a shock.

"I like to lead by example, I don't think anything about me will change from last year to this year," he said.

"But maybe I have to be a bit more vocal, give out a bit more advice because the average age of the squad has gone down quite a lot and we've got some exciting young players coming through and should play a lot of games this year. I'm one of the older heads that they'll look to, especially in times like Friday night playing against a Neil Warnock side that they've probably not seen or played in games like that before. I'm one of the older guard who can keep calm and expect what's coming."

Cleverley spent a season on loan with Watford in the Championship a decade ago and so has some idea of what to expect from the second tier.

However, he is expecting things to have changed a bit, including the quality.

"The Championship's changed quite a lot since then, but I have very good memories of this league," he said. "It's playing Tuesday, Saturday, it's all those things and I'm confident that I'm up to this level and my body's up to two games a week and hopefully I can have a season as successful as the last time I was in this league.

"It's really got strength in depth and it's going to be by no means easy to bounce straight back, but I feel we have enough to do that, but it has to be one game at a time because if you look too far in this league, you will definitely come unstuck. "

New head coach Vladimir Ivic has already gained a reputation as a tough character to deal with, but Cleverley insists he is not as serious as he looks.

"He has smiled a couple of times and he's not as miserable as he looks in the photos," he said. "We've enjoyed the training, it's not been easy for him with his staff having had a few problems in being present, but training's been good, he's got the respect of the players and we're confident in his game plan and it's been a good start.

"He's disciplined, but nothing outrageous. He just likes good behaviour, good application, focus and he's on that all the time. I suppose he's tactical, he's very black and white and we're working a lot more with the ball, focusing on dominating possession, whereas last year, I suppose we had to accept at times that wasn't going to be the case."