Everton manager David Moyes knows a thing or two about football, and has urged his star man to turn the other cheek on the pitch.
After more than a decade’s service at Goodison Park, he’s up there with Sir Alex Fergusons and Arsene Wenger in terms of Premier League credibility and longevity.
It’s no surprise then that his players respect his opinion but I wonder whether his recent comments about Marouane Fellaini should be taken with a pinch of salt.
"You trust officials, and you expect them to go about their job the same for everybody. But if you look at Fellaini, he has to take as many challenges as anybody. He'll give as many out, but I don't think he gets protected as well as what it is when he's challenging somebody,” Moyes explained, firstly.
Fellaini does take criticism from other managers for his physicality – Ferguson bemoaned his style of play when the two teams met for the opening game of the season in which Fellaini scored the only goal.
We’ve also heard Wenger complain for several seasons now about his players not being protected by officials adequately enough and now it’s Moyes’ turn to bang that drum.
However, after seeing Fellaini head-butt Ryan Shawcross a couple of months ago against Stoke, I’m leaning towards the opinion that the Belgian gives as good as he gets.
"It is frustrating,” Moyes continued.
“But he's good at dealing with it. I keep saying to him: Look at Lionel Messi. He gets kicked every week. Everyone wants to kick him because it's the only way to stop him. But all he ever does is smile, get up and get on with it.”
Now, I’m sure there are managers and coaches all across the world instructing their players and teaching their youngsters to be a bit more like Lionel Mess – and with good reason.
But Marouane Fellaini is a completely different kind of player – he is a more traditional Premier League player who is capable of physicality and aerial dominance as well as being technically gifted with the ball at his feet.
I understand Moyes is referring to the Argentine’s temperament and attitude but, even on that note, I disagree. Lionel Messi gets kicked sometimes but he gets a lot more protection in La Liga than he would in the Premier League. Speak to his teammate Cesc Fabregas who said exactly that after Aaron Ramsey’s leg was snapped in two by one Ryan Shawcross.
On that note, Lionel Messi isn’t quite as ‘happy go lucky’ as he’s painted here by Moyes either. He’s a craftly little so-and-so and he avoids getting kicked by diving and rolling around on the floor so much that defenders are scared to go anywhere near him for fear of getting booked or sent off.
Fellaini, in my humble opinion, should stick to what he does best, and keep his rough edges and feisty handbags – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
image: © nicksarebi