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A Sign Of Things To Come
Joel Durkin, 21st August 2012 - 16:53
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Marouane Fellaini’s vintage display against Manchester United on Monday night showed how important he has become during four years at Everton, and how his ability will be key to any success this season.
The big man is becoming unmissable (not just for his afro) as one of the most convincing all-round performers in the Premier League. His assured performance against one of the biggest teams in the Premier League may be a sign that this season could be a big one for the Belgian, and in turn for the team.
Michael Carrick, United’s makeshift central defender, was exploited by Fellaini, who consistently made space to bring down the ball in dangerous areas.
Fellaini also played selflessly, nodding the ball down for teammates to create chances, looking like a natural target man.
The other players’ input in Monday night’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked, but Fellaini played an integral part in the vast majority of Everton’s chances. His goal was a reward for his first half performance, and the work he has put in for Everton in his four previous seasons.
When he joined as a young could-be on deadline day in September 2008, a Club record £15m fee may have seemed expensive for an unproven player. But David Moyes must have seen something bright early on.
Fellaini arrived at Goodison Park as a strong central midfielder, but quickly realised that as an Everton player, you may be required to play in more than one position. In the time he has spent at the Club, he has become comfortable playing as a defensive anchor, as a box to box player, in an advanced midfield role and as a striker - and the fee paid now seems like a bargain looking back.
It is easy to forget that Fellaini is only 24. He seems to have been at Everton forever, taking no prisoners in whatever role is required of him week to week. But this season’s first game victory against United possibly brought his best performance yet as an attacking player, and highlights that even with his ability, he is still improving.
When selecting his team, a consideration David Moyes has to take into account is that wherever he decides Fellaini should play, he will miss out on the big man in another area of the park. Fellaini has a tremendous work rate, but if he is in an advanced role he will be less effective breaking up play and distributing the ball, and so on. David Moyes must decide where Fellaini will be most effective. That won’t be easy, but it’s a nice headache to have.
As the season draws on, and Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas are filtered into the team, we might see Fellaini in a free midfield role, which would make full use of his lungs and allow him to get up and down the pitch to make full use of his ability.
However, wherever he is chosen to play this season, Marouane Fellaini has shown early in the season his importance to Everton and his ability playing against the very best teams. If Everton are to have a successful season, Fellaini is likely to be an integral part of it.
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