Phil Neville knows that Marouane Fellaini is yet to hit top form at Old Trafford so far this season but insisted that he was the best young midfielder who Manchester United could sign this summer.
It is a strong claim given the fact that the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera were available during the summer but United decided to invest in Fellaini, something which Neville believes will eventually pay off when he gets fully settled.
“‘He is 26 and he is the best young midfield player out there,” he said.
“When we looked in the summer and studied them all he was the best young midfielder around who we could sign. He will be fine.
“The United fans haven’t seen the best of him, they have seen little glimpses.
“When he came at United he wasn’t fully match fit but we are getting him fitter, fitter to play for Man United and fitter to be that box-to-box player to be able to get in on the end of crosses and then get back to defend crosses. That is what we want him to do.
“He is adjusting to life at Man United. It is a test coming here. He is in that settling-in period.”
There may be some red tinted glasses on here Phil. Fellaini isn’t the best young midfielder out there by a long shot but Moyes felt he was more important to the side than the likes of Herrera and Alcantara who didn’t move to Old Trafford.
However, Neville has challenged Fellaini to improve and bring more goals to his game from midfield position, as that is the player that Moyes wants him to be for United.
He continued: “He needs to score and win. He needs to experience that feeling when you are part of a team that wins.
“He needs to start scoring from midfield. There is nobody better at that than Felli. That is the next step for him. That’s what he needs to take his game onto the next step.
“We need to see why we bought him.”
The 26-year-old has had an indifferent start to his career and has failed to establish himself as a regular starter but it isn’t something that has surprised Neville saw him take half a season to settle down properly at Everton when he moved from Standard Liege back in 2008.
He explained: “He is shy. The first six months at Everton he was really shy and I thought we are going to have a problem with him.
“But he is not shy forever. He is very witty and very funny and a great character.
“That needs to come out. We need to see that in his play and in around the training ground.
“There are so many big characters around that dressing room that it takes time to bed in. Slowly and surely we will start to see the best of him.”
Right now, Fellaini isn’t playing like the midfielder who was Everton’s linchpin last year. Whether that is through a combination of being injured or unsettled is all guesswork but with Jones banned, Carrick injured and Cleverley not playing very well, there will be a real pressure on Fellaini to perform against Everton tomorrow night and show United fans he was worth the £27 million paid for him.