Marouane Fellaini seeks to emulate the Manchester United greats

• Fellaini hopes to be compared with Cantona and Beckham
• 'He's got the potential to be that good,' insists David Moyes

Marouane Fellaini is determined to join Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Roy Keane as legendary Manchester United players following his £27.5m move from Everton on the final day of the summer transfer window.

Asked if he could emulate some of the club's greats, Fellaini said: "I hope. I work hard for this. In the past you have had Cantona. Roy Keane, Beckham – I work hard [to join them]."

Fellaini, who can play in defensive and advanced central positions, also adds a muscular presence that United have missed since Keane left in 2005, so the Belgian believes there are comparisons between them.

"He is an aggressive player, he can win the ball and I can do this as well," the 25-yeard-old said. "I can win the ball. I can clear the ball. I can play clean, so I look forward to [doing this]."

Fellaini's arrival has received a mixed welcome from some within the game and from a section of United supporters. But the manager, David Moyes, is convinced he will prove a significant signing. "He'll be a Manchester United player," said the Scot. "We'll give him time and the room to do so and hopefully people will see he'll contribute greatly to the team. He's got the potential to be that good [as Beckham, Keane and Cantona]. He's got an awful lot going for him. Hopefully he'll help our great players get better by giving them a bit more freedom on the pitch. He's got good ability and he's still young enough to improve."

With Fellaini stating his preferred position was a defensive midfielder, Moyes confirmed this is where he sees him operating: "We'll play him further back the pitch than up the pitch. We've got enough people who can play the No10 role. At Everton when we lost Tim Cahill it meant we had a little bit of a vacancy around there [at No10] and we had other people who could play deeper in the middle of the pitch. Here we've got the Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Adnan's [Januzaj] coming through. We've got lots who can play there but what we probably were short of was more central midfield players and Felli can do that job for us."

With Kagawa yet to feature under Moyes, the manager was clear there is a role for the Japanese, explaining why he has missed out so far. "He went to the Confederations Cup, we met him in Japan [on tour], he played two games for us and stayed on another week and came back when the season had started," said Moyes. "He had a friendly back in Japan, came back, was here for a couple of weeks and then went away and so in truth he's not been here. We'll use Shinji when he's ready but he's not been here for us to use. He's got a little bit of flu [so will miss the Crystal Palace game on Saturday], and had to pull out of some sponsorship stuff yesterday and that's from the flying and travelling he's done."

comments powered by Disqus