Manchester United assistant manager Steve Round has heaped praise on Marouane Fellaini and believes he is exactly the midfielder that will bring some stability to the middle of the park for United.
Round, who worked with Fellaini for five years at Everton, is better placed than most to pass judgement on the Belgian and he has backed him to be an instant success in an interview with the Manchester Evening News.
“I am sure Marouane will settle in very quickly and be an integral part of United’s success in the future, I really do,” he said.
“When David came here he looked at the squad and thought one of the players we needed to bring in was someone with those physical attributes in the middle of midfield who could give us strength and aggression in certain games and maybe allow one or two of the others to play.
“That, coupled with his ability to score, made him feel Marouane would be a really good acquisition for United.”
One of Fellaini’s best assets is that he will bring the best out of other players around him. The 25-year-old’s defensive capabilities mean that the likes of Rooney, Welbeck, Kagawa et al will be able to concentrate on going forward and it will mean that United’s momentum in the attack improves because of Fellaini’s acquisition.
“His chest control is arguably one of the best in the world. You can bang the ball at him from anywhere and he will bring it down on his chest and bring others into play.” Steve Round
“When you get to work with him every day, you get to realise that technically he is excellent,” Round added.
“His chest control is arguably one of the best in the world. You can bang the ball at him from anywhere and he will bring it down on his chest and bring others into play.
“His feet and his technique work are really good. He is aggressive and tackles. He also has great fitness stats.”
The importance of that can’t be underestimated. By taking away the responsibility of having to track back all the time, United’s forwards will be able to hit teams faster on the breaks and build much quicker from the back. It should allow us to create a lot more chances and pose a much greater threat on the attack.
As well as his defensive contribution, Fellaini will bring something completely fresh to United’s otherwise weak midfield and Round highlighted the importance of having midfielders who can give you different options in judging the strength of United’s squad.
He continued: “When you are building a squad to compete on all fronts you don’t want every single player to be the same. You want options and differences. In a certain game it might be Tom Cleverley and Carrick in midfield, it might be Fellaini and Carrick, or Fellaini and Anderson. There are different permutations.
“Marouane was ready for this step up. He’ll fit in well with the professionalism here and relish the challenge.
“He is a 10-15 goals a season man and that is good from midfield.
“He can play number four, sat in front of the defence, he can play an eight in the centre doing box-to-box and can play a number 10 where he drops off the front man. That’s valuable when the range of games is so varied.” Steve Round
“He can play number four, sat in front of the defence, he can play an eight in the centre doing box-to-box and can play a number 10 where he drops off the front man. That’s valuable when the range of games is so varied.”
In United’s set-up, Fellaini is expected to play in a central midfield role. It is unknown whether he will be chosen to sit deep alongside Carrick or whether he will play just in front of him which would allow him to burst forward and give him a chance to score a goal.
Although he was often used as a #10 type player at Everton, that won’t happen at United because Kagawa and Rooney will both play there in front of him.
Round finished his interview by hailing the ability of Moyes as a manager and praising his work ethic, desire to succeed and mindset to achieve everything at the highest level with United.
“Without a doubt David was ready for this job,” he said.
“I had five years at Everton with him and he impressed me every day. There is not a day goes by where you take your foot off the gas with him. He is 100 per cent every day with an incredible work ethic.
“He also has an incredible desire to succeed. He now has the stature and presence to move to a club like this. I really do believe he will be a big success here.
“Now I have been in this club and environment I can understand why Sir Alex and the board appointed him, to keep that continuity, work ethic, drive and feeling about the club going.
“It was very important to them and I can understand now that I have been here and lived it. They were made for each other.”