Paul Scholes was pleased to see Marouane Fellaini put in a good performance against West Brom on Monday and believes he has an important role to play at Manchester United this season.
The much maligned Belgian midfielder has been on the wrong end of a torrent of abuse from a lot of United fans who don’t feel he has been good enough since completing a £27m move from Everton. Given that his first goal for the club came over a year after he joined, a lot of that frustration has been justified.
However, Scholes believes Fellaini’s physicality gives Louis van Gaal a genuine option they shouldn’t be afraid to use if necessary.
“I was pleased for Monday’s first goalscorer Marouane Fellaini, whom I got to know a little working as one of Ryan’s coaches at United last season,” Scholes said in his latest column for The Independent.
“I think there is a good chance that he will start against Chelsea, not least because he looked like the man to take care of Cesc Fabregas if Louis van Gaal decides to assign that job.
“Fellaini is a good player. Is he an obvious choice to play in midfield for United? No. Would he be the first man you would look to as a second striker off Robin van Persie? No. But he is a great option for Van Gaal, and he has hit some form. In the past, United have not been afraid to use a strong individual as a target to play off, there were times that we did it with Teddy Sheringham or Dwight Yorke.
Previously, Scholes hasn’t been afraid to be critical of Fellaini such as after his poor performance in the derby defeat to Manchester City last year: “He’s not been great, has he?” Scholes said at the time.
“You have to admit that. For a central midfielder at Manchester United for £27m, I’m expecting a few goals at least.
“He did have problems with his wrist and I know he missed a lot of games but, for the money they paid for him, I’d be expecting a lot more, to be honest with you.”
Scholes’ assessment of Fellaini on both occasions was completely fair and going into the Chelsea game on Sunday, Fellaini is likely to start because of how well he played against West Brom.
He has created a fresh opportunity for himself and now it is up to him to take advantage of it.