Football is a game where eleven players are sent out on to the pitch by each team to try and outscore the opponent. However, modern football is far from being so simple. Be it the away goals rule of the Champions League or managerial tactics, it is no longer about just outscoring opponents.
The development of the modern game has seen the development of several new managerial styles. Players are no longer one dimensional. Strikers do not just need to score goals, midfielders just do not need to pass, wingers do not just cross, defenders cannot just tackle and keepers need to be now sweepers as well.
There are strikers who need to hold the ball, defend their own team’s corners, create space for teammates. There are midfielders who need to run from box to box, score goals, create passes and defend like centre-backs. Wingers have to track back and defenders need to know how to create attacks by being good on the ball.
Such a new outlook on the game has seen the advent of multi-purpose footballers with new aspects to their game. The biggest example of it in the Manchester United dressing room right now is perhaps Marouane Fellaini.
Fellaini has often been hailed by the United fans as the player who does not deserve a starting berth in the team. His lacklustre game has been criticized often and with good reason. However, the one thing common between Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho is the fact that they all favoured having Fellaini in their team. It cannot be a coincidence that a player of such calibre has found his way into the team every single time.
Fellaini is a player a manager dreams to have. He is not the star player who will score three goals to win you the match but he is that trusted soldier who will selflessly put the team’s needs before his own. When his team is trailing, he will happily come on as a holding midfielder and help shore up his defence. His towering figure is not easy to get past and with a good sense of tackling and a basic sense of passing he keeps the possession rolling and more importantly winning it back in his team’s half.
When the team is trailing, he is happy to come on as a second striker and receive the long balls and tap them down for his teammates to feed on. Such players do not have great careers because they never excel playing in one position. They are, however, ingenious squad players who will be a manager’s dream to have as they will always give in more than their 100%.
Hence it is quite a happy news at Old Trafford where Fellaini is reportedly going to be offered a new deal by Mourinho. Congratulations Marouane, we hope you get the recognition you deserve.
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