It’s been a whirlwind of a season for Marouane Fellaini. Following a fabulous start to the 2012/13 campaign with Everton FC, which included a goal and man of the match performance against Manchester United, followed by a goal in the game against Aston Villa, he was summoned for duty with the Belgian National Football Team.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t have been viewed as any sort of problem, but away from the deathly stare of David Moyes, Fellaini obviously felt comfortable enough to send out an SOS call to Europe’s elite football clubs. The fuzzy haired Belgian naturally felt this was an opportunity to top a number of Persian Prince’s and Eastern Block Oligarch’s Christmas shopping lists. It is a common mistake made by so many footballers when on international duty and an understandable one at that. Unfortunately this story and the publicity surrounding it, is even less surprising given it involves a Belgian international.
Many in this instance could point toward the case of Marc Goossens, former team doctor of the Belgian national side, who had reported childish behaviour amongst the Belgian squad and subsequently resigned from his post, largely playing into the belief that these pampered prima-donna bad-boys had something of a behavioural malfunction and perhaps, this had also factored into the national team’s results of that time period.
I don’t completely buy into this stigma of bad behaviour, and I cite the imperious attitude of Vincent Kompany and the idealistic football nature of Tottenham Hotspur recruit, Jan Vertonghen as my casework in this argument.
Marouane Fellaini is also a player who has rustled few feathers in his time as a professional footballer and behaved impeccably under the guise of David Moyes. His willingness to play to his versatile ways has seen him deployed both in midfield and as a forward at Goodison Park and led many to question what his best position actually is. He really is that good in both positions.
His start to the 2012/13 season, partnering Nikica Jelavić, has seen him grow in stature. Drifting out to the left hand side of the pitch to act as a target man, his ability to bring the ball down to his feet and link so excellently with Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar, has raised yet more eyebrows and perhaps this time, Fellaini is willing to push his move through.
Upon returning from international duty, Moyes privately dressed down Fellaini. The interesting thing here is, Moyes would likely sell Fellaini to a club of his choosing, if they paid the transfer fee required, as he has done so often in the past. Moyes, simply put, will have been more angered in the way the Belgian had gone about voicing his discontent. Whilst his cries weren’t of the magnitude of say Joleon Lescott’s time at the club, they will most certainly have been heard.
Despite this misunderstanding, Fellaini started the game against Newcastle United on Monday Night and had yet another fantastic 90 minutes. His hold-up play was untouchable at times and Mike Williamson struggled to compete with the Belgian behemoth in the air, instead allowing Fellaini to seize control and force him to play the ball with his back to goal.
His willingness to knuckle back down to work with Everton and focus on his performance both individually and collectively within the team goes a long way to dispelling the myths publicly bestowed on this Belgian generation. Moyes must also take huge credit in refocusing his star man.
If the money talks, Fellaini will likely walk, but until then, Fellaini will remain a driven individual and a focal point of this Everton side.