Marouane Fellaini has been pictured working hard in training ahead of Belgium’s friendly with the Czech Republic on Monday night.
The 29-year-old weathered the early criticism of supporters and pundits to enjoy a sensational end to the 2016/17 campaign in the form of a sensational performance in the Europa League final.
Fellaini, who ended up making 47 appearances under Jose Mourinho, has now joined up with the national side for the clash with the Czech Republic before taking on Estonia in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.
And he was pictured putting in the hard yards ahead of tonight’s friendly in Brussels.
Fellaini has been at Old Trafford for almost four years – something that, if said out loud, comes across as almost strange. How many times have we as supporters dismissed the Belgian as not good enough, bemoaning the difficulty that comes with finding his purpose in this forever changing Man United side.
And yet here he remains: the Belgian has outlasted Bastian Schweinsteiger, Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay, Radamel Falcao and Morgan Schneiderlin through virtue of sheer grit. Talking him down is one thing; removing him entirely from the scene is proving impossible.
In fact, when it comes to judging managerial success, Fellaini could be more important to this side than you think. His success at United has more or less completely aligned with the wider success of the club during these past four years.
Under David Moyes, for example, he was a blunt instrument; Louis van Gaal managed to oversee some bombastic displays from the Belgian but, as was the Dutchman’s nature, his constant adjusting meant that his influence was only sporadic.
And under Mourinho, as seen most clearly in Stockholm, a clear purpose for the 29-year-old has been found. Ajax simply didn’t understand how to cope with him, which leads us to one last finalising thought that I shall let you, the reader, ponder over: is Fellaini’s form itself a good barometer for judging the success of managers in the home dugout at Old Trafford?