He may not have topped the list of potential midfield targets for Manchester United’s fans or even their boss, but now Marouane Fellaini has arrived, it’s imperative David Moyes get the best out of him.
It could be argued that the man who brought Fellaini to English football knows exactly what his best position is, however, the Belgian’s versatility in his time at Goodison Park makes his most effective role a slight conundrum, even for Moyes.
One thing is clear, after costing a cool £27.5m he simply must start, especially if Man United’s 7/2-rated title ambitions are to be fulfilled.
At Everton, Fellaini was actually brought in as a defensive midfielder from Standard Liege. His physical stature made him an obvious choice to play there, while his skills with the ball at his feet gave clues from the word go, that this was not a run of the mill type of player.
While he was/is extremely effective at breaking up play and giving it to others, to his credit Moyes discovered he could be used just as effectively as an attacking force, playing him off a main striker.
This was a tactic rewarded with nine Premier League goals before the end of the calendar year last season, though at Old Trafford he should be asked to perform a duel task.
What Moyes has in abundance in his squad is players who can fit into that space behind the main striker, including Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and possibly Tom Cleverley, to name the leading candidates.
Meanwhile, in Michael Carrick they have an excellent passer and naturally cautious midfielder who is adept at breaking up play also, but what they’ve been screaming out for is the archetypal box-to-box midfielder, who likes to get on the end of things.
This is where Fellaini can flourish, alongside Carrick, in the occupying the centre-ground, though his starting position should be more conservative than labour.
On the left is where the likes of Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Carrick like to perform their intricate triangles from midfield, before Patrice Evra can come bombing forward to overlap and get crosses into the box.
Being that Fellaini needs to be the player arriving to get on the end of such crosses, he’s best off staying out of these left-sided inter-plays so he has time to maraud into the box and endear himself to the Old Trafford faithful by bagging a few goals.
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