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Match 23
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Belgium coach Wilmots defends Fellaini

Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has criticised Manchester United for using Marouane Fellaini as a defensive midfielder -- saying it makes it inexplicable they bought him.

Marouane Fellaini has proved a major disappointment since his switch from Everton on deadline day.
Marouane Fellaini didn't make Man Utd's squad for the visit of Norwich.

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Fellaini became one of the most expensive players in United’s history when David Moyes signed him from his former club Everton for 27.5 million pounds in September.

But the 26-year-old has endured a difficult first year at Old Trafford, failing to score and being omitted from the 18 for interim manager Ryan Giggs’ first game in charge.

And Wilmots believes the problem is that Fellaini, who operated just behind a main striker for Everton, has been deployed as a holding midfielder, rather than being told to make more forward runs.

He told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws: “I don't understand why Manchester United bought him to play him in a system of two No. 6s. Marouane is a box-to-box player.”

But former Belgium captain Wilmots believes Fellaini can use this summer’s World Cup to prove his ability, adding: “I have no doubts about Marouane. The World Cup is a good chance for him to take revenge.”

Belgium will face Algeria, Russia and South Korea in the group stages and Wilmots said five players are certainties to make his squad.

They are Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany, who captains Belgium, plus Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Eden Hazard, Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Wolfsburg forward Kevin de Bruyne.

Fellaini’s United teammate Adnan Januzaj has declared he will play international football for Belgium, although he is also eligible to represent other countries, and will be included in a preliminary 27-man squad, which will be reduced to the 23 who will travel to Brazil.


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