When Marouane Fellaini first stepped into the Premier League for Everton, three things were immediately apparent. Firstly, he was tall. Secondly, he fouled people a lot. And thirdly, Marouane Fellaini had hair. Lots of it.
Nearly four years on, all those things still apply. His hair could possibly be even bigger than it was. And he comitted more fouls per game than anyone else in the Premier League last season. But watching the Belgian in action against England last week it was clear that Fellaini has grown into a fine player.
Taking into account all the usual stats (tackles, interceptions, blocks, clearances per game) Fellaini was just outside the top ten central midfielders defensively in the Premier League last year. However, his height gives him one advantage over all the rest. Add in the number of aerial duels he won and he jumps to no 2 on that list. Surprisingly, to non-QPR fans at least, Alejandro Faurlin is the top destroyer over those five categories.
But Fellaini is not just a destroyer. He’s not a Scott Parker, content to sit, win the ball and move it on. He gets assists, but he’s not a craftsman like David Silva or Juan Mata. He scores goals, but he’s not a goalscoring machine like Frank Lampard.
“Marouane is probably seen as more of a defensive midfield player,” explained David Moyes recently. “But he’s far better when he’s joining in and getting forward because he can do a bit of everything.”
“It’s difficult to put him into any one box. He’s got a goal in him, he does get forward and causes problems, but he’s also very good at breaking the game up and doing other things. He’s quite good at both jobs.”
Differentgame thinks he could just about be the best “all-action” midfielder in the Premier League. Moyes hinted at him being Tim Cahill’s long-term successor at the club. However, if Fellaini continues in the same vein, long-term he’ll surely be succeeding someone else at a Champions League team.
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