Has Marouane Fellaini won over the doubters?

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When all’s said and done, a 2nd place finish in the 2017/18 Premier League season was the best Manchester United were going to get.

That may disappoint some, but for a team that are still trying to find their identity under Jose Mourinho, it’s progress.

Something Marouane Fellaini has shown year after year at the Red Devils.

Many decry the Belgian as one dimensional, but Mourinho has always backed Fellaini to the hilt. Indeed, the Portuguese has even gone as far as saying on more than one occasion that the team is much weaker without the midfielder in it.

An important cog in the machine, there’s no chance that he will be plying his trade somewhere else anytime soon.

Whether as a central midfielder, a second striker or a forward when required, Fellaini gives every role 100%, and though he may not have the natural talents of his peers, he is no less of a vital squad member.

For example, there have been plenty of occasions when he’s come on to change games late on, his mix of physical presence and goal threat a handy weapon to have when a match has appeared to be getting away from United.

Perhaps Roy Keane’s assessment on why he had been, until recently, a scapegoat, is the most accurate: “He came in at the last minute when David Moyes was there. I liked him at Everton and I think he’s a good player for Man United.”

Keane is known as a man who doesn’t give out praise lightly, and there’s more than an element of truth in his assumption. Any player associated with the David Moyes era at United appears to have been tarnished, without supporters bothering to assess the relative merits that Fellaini brings to the party.

Lest we forget the important goals that he’s scored, nor the protection he gives to those around him.

Michael Carrick and Nemanja Matic will attest to how significant their club colleagues’ contribution is to the team dynamic and also their own way of working.

Mourinho’s love-in has certainly helped the Belgian too, who seemed close to leaving for Galatasaray at one point.

That support has been reciprocated by a player that is willing to go to war for the Special One at a moment’s notice.

He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, clearly, but there’s no denying that he is vital to everything that Mourinho wants to achieve whilst at Old Trafford.

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