Marouane Fellaini, the Everton midfielder who has endured and enjoyed a rollercoaster season, has professed his admiration for David Moyes amid speculation that he could follow the new Manchester United manager to Old Trafford.
"The manager is important to the club. He's been here for 10 years, so he knows the club, the players, the mentality. He helps the team a lot with their spirit, tactics as well. He is really important for the team," said Fellaini, speaking at a BT Sport advertising shoot before the news of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement and his replacement by Moyes.
"I would say he is a good guy. Yes, when he needs to shout, he shouts. But when he needs to relax, he relaxes. He makes us train hard. Football is like this," said Fellaini, who Moyes brought to Everton for £15m from Standard Liège in 2008, a rare big-money signing.
Fellaini, who said he believed his best position was as a defensive midfielder despite the plaudits he has attracted for his all-action box-to-box displays this season, has also long been linked with Chelsea. The Belgian would not be drawn on his future, saying he was "happy" at Everton, but made it clear that he wanted to carry on playing in the "fantastic" Premier League.
"I want to play in England. The Premier League is the best league. Here there are five, six, seven, eight teams, all of whom think they are good enough to play in the Champions League and want that," he said. "There isn't another country in Europe where you have eight teams who feel that way. Certainly not Spain or France."
Fellaini said his versatility was sometimes a "problem" and that he found playing up front difficult, despite weighing in with some crucial goals this season.
"It is a problem. Sometimes I look at myself and ask, 'What is my best position?' But I think it's a defensive midfielder, that's the best one. The manager might like it sometimes when I play up front because I can cause trouble for the defenders but for me my best position is defensive midfield, stopping the opposition and then looking to impose myself on a game," he said.
"When I play up front it's hard. It's not my position and I find it difficult. I've played in a few positions. Sometimes I've played well there. I understand why the manager might put me up there, because he wants me to cause trouble in the box for their defenders."
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image: © Jason Gulledge