Marouane Fellaini is becoming more important to Manchester United by the week.
Gone is the perception of the Belgian international as a square peg in a round hole, a David Moyes signing that had no place at Old Trafford. Instead United fans are seeing what the midfielder is capable of with fitness and confidence on his side.
Louis van Gaal has transformed the perception of the £27.5million man, who scored the first goal in United's 2-1 win against Stoke City on Tuesday.
An emphatic header opened the scoring, before Juan Mata's drifting free-kick and some outstanding goalkeeping from David de Gea sealed the victory. But Fellaini did so much more than score.
His passing accuracy of 86 per cent was good while he was a regular goal threat, having three attempts in total, two of which were on target.
He also dominated the midfield, winning four aerial battles, one interception and an impressive nine duels.
|Passing Accuracy||Goals||Key Passes||Shots||Shots on Target||Aerials Won||Interceptions Won||Duels Won||Mins Played|
This is not the player who was so regularly shoved off the ball during his first tentative steps as a United player. This Fellaini is a different beast, and one van Gaal knows how to utilise.
New midfielders will arrive at the club in due course but it appears Fellaini is there to stay, and as long as he delivers performances like Tuesday's, few would have a problem with that.