Marouane Fellaini Form Is Issue for Next Manchester United Boss Not His Position

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentMay 1, 2014

Manchester United's Maroune Fellaini during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

There is never a completely fresh start when you sack a manager.

There is always a hangover. His ideas and philosophies walk out the door with him. But some things aren't as easy to fix.

It was results that did for David Moyes in the end. But the struggles of Marouane Fellaini, signed from former club Everton on deadline day, didn't do him any favours.

Had Moyes stayed at Old Trafford, he would have been asked to oversee a major overhaul of the squad. It might have cost upward of £200 million. 

But he never earned the trust of the board, or the Glazer family, in the transfer market. It was, in part, down to a botched summer transfer window at the end of which Moyes had only Fellaini, over-priced at £27.5 million, to show for it.

Jon Super/Associated Press

After missing out on the Champions League for the first time since 1995, the board couldn't risk another failure. Ultimately, it cost Moyes his job.

But while the 51-year-old Scot is on a beach in Miami, Fellaini is still a United player. 

The Belgian's poor season hit a new low last weekend when he was omitted from Ryan Giggs' squad to play Norwich. 

Fellaini was fit, and Giggs seemed genuinely down when he spoke afterwards about having to leave players out.

But it couldn't disguise the fact that the new caretaker manager clearly doesn't believe Fellaini is among his best 18 players. 

It doesn't bode well for a man who is the fifth-most expensive player ever to sign for the club.

Marc Wilmots, the Belgium manager, told reporters Fellaini has failed to settle because he's been played out of position.

I have no doubts about Marouane.

I don't understand why Manchester United bought him to play him in a system of two No. 6s. Marouane is a box-to-box player. The World Cup is a good chance for him to take revenge.

It's only to be expected that Wilmots would defend a player he will rely on at this summer's World Cup. But it's too simplistic a view.

It's true that Fellaini's first season has been disrupted by wrist and back injuries. He has, occasionally, impressed in games against Crystal Palace, West Brom and West Ham.

But United players, especially ones who cost so much, are measured by their performances in the big games. Against Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Manchester City (twice) he has looked out of his depth.

It's difficult to blame every heavy touch or misplaced pass on being out of position.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Fellaini, much like the manager who signed him, has become something of a figure of fun this season. But he's not a bad footballer. He wouldn't be part of one of the most exciting international teams if he was.

Still, he hasn't played well since arriving at United. That's the issue he must address first before he worries about where he's going to play.

Like every other member of the squad, Fellaini will get a fresh start under a new manager next season. A manager who won't worry how much he cost or where he came from.

If Fellaini wants to stay at Old Trafford, he will have to impress the new man, regardless of the position he's played in. If he doesn't, his time at United will be short-lived.


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