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From being called a “tree” to a certain Pillar now, Fellaini seems to have come a long way!

Marouane Fellaini is into the fifth year of his Manchester United career and yet fair share, in fact, the majority of the fans, have not yet warmed up to him entirely. There are a few games here and there where he is lauded for his performances but the overall outlook towards the Belgian has not been very kind and accepting. But are we now seeing something that the managers have always seen in the midfielder? Because Fellaini is not only putting in decent performances but has also added consistency to his game.

Fellaini has survived the tenure of three different managers and has been in the first team plans of all the three. There has to be something that these managers saw in him on the training ground that made them realize his importance. Same has been the case with Jose Mourinho since he came in. Fellaini last season mentioned in an interview that Mourinho sent him a text to wish him well for the Euros when the Portuguese signed for the Reds. It was a big enough hint that he knew that Fellaini would have a certain role in his team and that plan seems to be taking shape now.

Ever since Paul Pogba has been sidelined with the injury, Fellaini has come in and been consistently decent. Of course, there is no comparison between what Pogba offers to the team and what Fellaini does but he has done one thing that he does best, mould in to the role that manager asks him to perform. After grabbing a brace against a poor Crystal Palace side and scoring four goals in his last five games, fans finally seem to be accepting the guy for what he is, an effective squad player and an important player for the manager to turn to when a specific job needs to be done.

The manager, today, while talking to the BBC, confirmed that he always had confidence in Fellaini and trusted him to get the job done.

“I always trusted Marouane since day one. I try to give him confidence and show him how useful he is for the team.

“Fellaini played really well – but this is what he has been doing for a long time”

After the game against Crystal Palace, he also mentioned how certain qualities of his make it easier for him to be flexible with using the Belgian.

Fellaini has important qualities and I try and use his qualities depending on the situations. He plays with me as a defensive midfielder and as a second striker and adapts to the needs of the team.”

He also paid an ode to how Fellaini has been mentally strong as a lot of fans were always on his back for various reasons.

“He is a great player and character and we have a good relationship. A strong character who resists the difficulties here. Some people did not recognise his qualities so he has to be a strong character.” 

He called him a “fighter” who with more than a few good performances now have forced people to reconsider their opinion of him, slowly but surely.

“He is a fighter. I am really pleased that I help him reach this level and to change the perception that the fans have now. I am really happy for him.”

With the tough few years that United have had in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, it was always natural to find a scapegoat for the poor performances. Fellaini has easily been that and only now when the team has been playing well that his performances are being noticed. No one says that he is a potential Ballon d’Or winner but he is also not an accident waiting to happen, at least not always, as is made out most of the times. It is good that the fringe players like Fellaini, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard are getting opportunities and are putting in a  good shift because a well-balanced team cannot have 11 superstars, they need the less “popular” but hard-working and gritty characters like Fellini. From being called a “tree”, Fellaini is finally starting to get his dues. Let’s hope he keeps up the consistency so that the opinions don’t change again.

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