Saturday 24 March 2018

Carragher: My criticism of Fellaini was over the top, but he must go

Jamie Carragher (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Marouane Fellaini. Photo:PA
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Jamie Carragher has admitted his criticism of Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini was over the top, but he has again called for the Belgian to be ousted from Old Trafford this summer.

Fellaini has accepted a three-match suspension after his clash with Leicester’s Robert Huth in United’s game against Leicester earlier this month, as he used his elbows with menacing intent against his opponent.

This is not the first time Fellaini has been branded dangerous by a high profile figure, with former World Cup final referee Howard Webb branding the Belgian star as “a thug” in another elbowing incident against Liverpool back in March.

Now Sky Sports pundit Carragher has clarified his comments, in a retraction that actually served to cement his initial statements in his Daily Mail column last weekend.

“I shouldn’t have said that I hope he doesn’t play in England again,” said the former Liverpool defender, in comments appearing in the Manchester Evening News.

“I didn’t mean it like that and on reflection I should have taken the line out. I didn’t mean he should be thrown out of the league, more that United should move him on.

“My point was that he’d played his last game in the league this season for United and that was hopefully the last we’ll see of his elbows. I know that sounds like the same thing, but I didn’t mean it as bluntly.

“Fellaini is a good player. I just don’t think he’s a Manchester United class player. He’s used in an effective way by Louis van Gaal and he did play well at West Ham. He doesn’t play every week and he’s used effectively in certain games.

“He was successful at Everton, that’s why United bought him. I also think that he would have been suited to Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, where power, strength and directness were important.

“But United don’t traditionally play like that. United should have players who are more than effective – which basically means he’s a handful and awkward to play against. Roy Keane was a handful, but he had a lot more to his game.”

Carragher came under fire from Man Utd fans after he publicly supported Luis Suarez after his infamous bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April 2013, while he admitted he had also been guilty of foul play during his career.

Yet that did not dilute his distain for Fellaini. “I’ve done bad things as a player, as have other players I’ve played with,” he added.

“Man United fans have been pointing out to me on social media that Luis Suarez and others have done worse things. That’s a fair point. Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, myself, Steven Gerrard have all done bad things on a pitch. We’ve stamped on people.

“There’s no excuse. My challenge on Nani was one of them, but my point with Fellaini is that it’s happening too often, that it’s every few games. I see an elbow as being similar to an over the top tackle and I don’t feel that it’s going away from his game.”

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