Marouane Fellaini can put his disappointing first season at Manchester United behind him and become one of the unlikely stars of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
Fellaini, who received criticism for his performances after being drafted in by David Moyes on last summer’s transfer deadline day for £27 million, scored Belgium’s equaliser in the 2-1 win over Algeria yesterday afternoon and can use the tournament to show new manager Louis van Gaal that he deserves a second chance at Old Trafford.
United have been linked with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Jordie Clasie, with the new manager keen to bolster the midfield, but Fellaini showed yesterday that, when on form and with confidence flowing, he can be a valuable asset.
His general performance against Algeria after coming off the substitutes bench was impressive. He was a constant threat, using his physicality and technical class to cause problems and dictate the game. He almost scored a second, but saw his shot well blocked.
Belgium are a side tipped for many to be amongst the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy. Marc WIlmots has assembled a side capable of winning dirty and winning in style, two qualities that make them a serious threat in South America.
They boast Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard but it is Fellaini that can make the World Cup his own.
Midfielders of the past have always used the tournament as a platform to achieve footballing greatness. Andres Iniesta was elevated to amongst the gods with his winning goal in Spain’s 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in South Africa four years ago.
Fellaini is not your normal midfielder. His body language and style of play is not too dissimilar to Dimitar Berbatov, and attracts claims of laziness and sluggishness, but this cannot be further from the truth.
Under Moyes, he endured a difficult campaign, playing in arguably the weakest United side for over 20 years. Besides David De Gea, no player can truly hold their heads high after their performances, and the 26-year-old was made a scapegoat for the rest of the side’s failings.
The midfielder was introduced and played in a more forward position, not too dissimilar to Yaya Toure at Manchester City. For the first time in over a year, comparisons between the two were justified.
His performance may have convinced Wilmots to play him from the start, and in an attacking position. If so, Fellaini could become one of the stars of the craziest World Cup of all time.
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