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Double Delight This Week

Radio City's Alan Irwin, 17th November 2011 - 15:51

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Alan Irwin is the Voice of Everton for Liverpool's Radio City 96.7. An experienced radio journalist, Alan commentates on all of the Blues' matches and is well placed to provide insightful blogs on the progress of the team.

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Good news has been difficult to come by this season for Blues fans, but this week has given us double delight!

First a full England International cap for Jack Rodwell, which can only do his confidence the power of good and hopefully see him progress more rapidly with Everton, and now the news that Marouane Fellaini has put pen to paper on a contract that takes him through to 2016.
 
It doesn't seem too long ago that the big Belgian was being castigated for his early performances with Everton. A £15m investment that looked about as secure as a Northern Rock savings account at the time. The acquisition from Standard Liege looked rather awkward and clumsy, found it difficult to go unnoticed on the field and might just as well have given the referee his name and number as he ran out onto the pitch, such was his propensity to get booked in those early days!
 
I think there are many foreign players that arrive in England who find it difficult to adjust.  Fellaini was certainly one. The pace and intensity of the English game is something they are simply not accustomed to, and not understanding the language can lead to increased problems too. It was without doubt a rather inauspicious start to his Everton career. There were many dissenting voices and I must admit I was among them. £15m? Surely things could only improve!
 
Well, 106 appearances later the doubters have been proved wrong. Fellaini has matured immensely. I won't go as far as David Moyes (back in late 2009) and call him the best midfielder in the country, but he's certainly an asset now for Everton Football Club. His improvement has been quite dramatic really although I still feel he needs a whole season without injury to perform at his absolute best for us. There are also questions as to where his best position on the field is? Sixteen goals so far is not a bad strike rate for a midfielder (1 in 7) but it's not great either. I feel there's more to come and if he's given license to get forward more often and into the opposition penalty area then he's capable of improving that strike rate considerably.
 
So what now for Fellaini? Well as an established player at the club I'd like to see him take more responsibility for our fortunes, to grab games by the scruff of the neck, impose himself in matches, dictate play. Lift us when we need it, shout and scream where necessary, score more goals, act as a captain on the field and continue to improve his disciplinary record (yes I know he's just served a suspension but it's a lot better than his initial season with us!!!). It sounds like I'm overburdening the lad but he has the ability to become the complete package, and with time I'm hopeful he will.
 
Fellaini turns 24 next week and has the prime years of his career ahead of him, let's hope that the penning of that new contract means those years are spent in the Blue shirt of Everton here on Merseyside.

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