Roy Keane has defended Marouane Fellaini, insisting that the Belgian has been made a scapegoat at Manchester United.
Fellaini has divided opinion among Man United supporters in recent months following some ineffectual performances on the pitch.
And recent reports have suggested that United are looking to offload the midfielder, with Roma said to be among those interested. Keane, speaking at a Republic of Ireland press conference at Euro 2016, defended Fellaini.
“I like Fellaini,” Keane said.
“I thought the criticism he had when he went to United was a bit over the top. I think it was just because he came in at the last minute when David Moyes was there and fans were maybe quick to jump on his back.
“I saw him a few times live, when United weren’t great, and thought he done okay. But he seemed to be the scapegoat for the fans. We saw him recently scoring some important goals. I like him. I liked him at Everton and I think he’s a good player for Man United.
“The criticism he’s had, I think he’s more of a scapegoat than anything else. Which can happen when a new manager brings in certain players and the new signings get criticism.
“If anything, they should have been criticising the experienced players at United who weren’t helping him out or who weren’t helping out the new manager. But that’s another story.”
There is no doubting that Fellaini has his uses. The Belgian was particularly impressive in United’s successful FA Cup run during the 2015/16 season, scoring crucial goals against West Ham United and Everton and breaking up the opposition’s play excellently.
But Fellaini’s slow, laborious playing style means that United cannot expect to play the free-flowing football that supporters demand with him in the side. Unfortunately, Fellaini’s limitations outweigh the positives that he brings.
He is a useful option and Jose Mourinho could do worse than keep him in the squad but it remains to be seen whether Fellaini will want to be a bit part player next season.