Sunday 25 February 2018

Jamie Carragher: 'Fellaini is a menace and not a Man Utd player in any shape or form'

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini, pictured, and Leicester City's Robert Huth were given a three-game suspension each
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini, pictured, and Leicester City's Robert Huth were given a three-game suspension each

Tom Rooney

Jamie Carragher believes that Marouane Fellaini’s flailing elbows are swung with bad intentions and that the Belgian midfielder is unworthy of the Manchester United jersey.

In the post Alex Ferguson era, few Manchester United players have proved as decisive as the towering Fellaini.

Even his arrival at Old Trafford from Everton was ignominious. Having botched a move for Ander Hererra in August 2013, David Moyes acquired Fellaini from his old club just as the transfer window closed and, for reasons unknown, paid more than his buyout clause required.

In many ways Fellaini became the figurehead of Moyes’ brief tenure and was granted little affection from the United faithful.

Still, during his first season at the club, Louis van Gaal was able to divine more from Fellaini’s particular skill set than his predecessor, by deploying him as a deep-lying target man.

A swirl of limbs, hair and studs, Fellaini can wreak havoc in an opposition danger area but, when used in a more standard fashion, namely in central midfield, the 28-year-old tends to be a liability.

Case in point, Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with now champions Leicester City. Fellaini became entangled with City defender Robert Huth, who pulled his unmistakable locks, before having an elbow whizz by his face.

Even a casual observer of United would know that wasn’t an isolated incident. Subsequently, both players were handed a three-game ban but, for Jamie Carragher, Felaini’s offence was far more egregious.

“How did they get the same bans? One man deliberately swings an elbow, knowing full well the damage that can be caused,” Carragher wrote in his Daily Mail column. “The other grabs a clump of hair. Both, somehow, end up with three-match suspensions.

GettyImages1166665733 (Read-Only).jpg
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“The more I look at the punishments that Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth received, the less I can understand the Football Association's decision. Huth, a giant in Leicester's fairytale campaign, misses his side's big celebration for an incident you associate with a school playground.

“Yet Fellaini could end up playing in the FA Cup final. Can pulling someone's hair cause the same damage as a flailing elbow? No. Not in a million years.”

Now, to be fair, Carragher was far from a pacifist during his days at Liverpool, but when considering the damage Fellaini may have caused Huth, the former centre-half makes a compelling case.

“It can't be right that he will be available for Manchester United's big day against Crystal Palace on May 21. My personal hope is that we would never see him playing in the Premier League again.

“Three games is not a sentence that will prove a deterrent to Fellaini. He is a repeat offender and it has gone beyond the point now where people can attempt to defend him by saying he is a tall lad who is using his arms for leverage.

“Look at the incident with Huth again: Fellaini takes a glance around and sees where Huth is before swinging. Yes, he may have been provoked but the Belgium international knew what he was doing. Had he connected firmly, the Leicester defender could have been left with a broken cheek or jaw.”

While Carragher admitted to finding Fellaini a worthy foe during Merseyside derbies, he maintains that the man Ireland will have to keep tabs on at next month’s European Championships is not of the requisite ability for Manchester United – even the current crop.

“He is a menace in the worst possible sense. I don't use that term lightly but he is not a Manchester United player in any shape or form.

“I was never convinced he would fit in at Old Trafford when he left Goodison Park and have never been given reason to change my mind. Yes, he's a good player with some qualities but he is absolutely not United standard,” Carragher wrote.

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