I might be in a minority of one here but I was pleased for Marouane Fellaini when he came on to make an impact and score the equaliser for Belgium against Algeria.
Everton fans hate him for joining Manchester United; Manchester United fans hate him for - well, joining Manchester United. He seems to have been the focus of a lot of the frustration and anger of Man Utd fans probably because he is so closely associated with David Moyes and represents the folly of his ten-month tenure at the club on the field.
Alright, probably no-one except Moyes thought he was worth £27.5m and to pay that was especially bizarre when there was a clause that Moyes knew about where he could have been had for £23.5m.
Was he a panic buy after a series of failures? Probably, but that wasn't his fault. Neither was it his fault that he wasn't the classic type of Man Utd player and didn't fit particularly well into the team nor play in his strongest position (which is definitely behind the main striker no matter what he himself, or managers or pundits think).
He thought he was living his dream when Moyes came calling but it has turned into something of a nightmare. He played in only 16 Premier League (EPL) games for Man Utd, didn't score a single goal (after netting 11 for Everton in the previous season), acquired his normal glut of yellow cards (plus one red in a Champion's League game) and generally cut a forlorn and frustrated figure. Now there is talk of him being offloaded for around half of what Manchester United paid for him.
But is he really that bad? And how much of the blame for his position rests with Moyes, the rest of the team and circumstances out of his control?
I am not trying to make a case for him being an absolute top class player; he has too many deficiencies for that. He is slow and sometimes laboured in his movement and actions; he doesn't have a good temperament and is easily provoked and often reacts unacceptably. His passing range is also limited.
But some of the other characteristics he has been criticised for just aren't true. His control for example; in his last season as Everton I don't think I have ever seen a player bring down and control such a number of (especially high) balls with such dexterity. His chest control is particularly impressive, killing bullet passes and getting the ball at his feet almost effortlessly.
He is also incredibly strong on the ball and seldom loses it when it is played into him or when he has it under control and running. His aerial ability is outstanding, as he demonstrated again against Algeria. He is not the world's greatest leaper but he times his jumps and gets powerful and accurate headers in.
In his last season at Everton he was the team's outstanding player (with Leighton Baines) in a sixth place finish and was also judged to be the 12th best player in Europe in a Bloomberg analysis based on effectiveness in playing position. That doesn't happen to a bad player no matter how inflated the claim might seem now.
Sure his temperament lets him down but I watched him for seasons at Everton being held, having his feet stood on, being pushed and blocked to prevent him from getting a run or jump on the ball. That is because he is so dangerous in the air and defenders recognised they couldn't beat him fairly. He might have to leave Old Trafford now to reignite his career. The fans have taken against him and he has obviously lost his confidence.
I wonder how much of the joy he showed after scoring for the Belgian team was a release of pent-up frustration and, perhaps a hint of 'look what I can do in a proper team that uses me right.' It will be interesting to see if a good World Cup leads to a reappraisal of his value.
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