Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has praised teammate Marouane Fellaini for the way in which he has recovered from a difficult start to life at Old Trafford.
The Belgian was a big-money signing by former boss David Moyes in August 2014 but he endured a torrid first season at the club.
With United struggling under Moyes, the former Everton midfielder took the brunt of criticism and many felt his United career would never get off the ground.
According to Rooney, that was unfair on Fellaini and on the back of another excellent display in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Man City the United skipper has singled his teammate out for praise.
“We like to play out from the back and if teams are pressing us then we have him as an option,” Rooney said.
“He is probably the best in world football at bringing the ball down and getting us out of that pressure and further up the pitch.”
Fellaini has flourished under Louis van Gaal since getting his chance in the first team this season and he received a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful when he was substituted against City after netting his fifth league goal of the season.
Rooney says Fellaini was not alone in underperforming last season under Moyes.
“It was tough for him but he had the whole team’s support. We knew he was working hard and it wasn’t just him struggling last season, a lot of us were,” he added.
United go to champions-elect Chelsea on Saturday and are 3.97 to put a dent in the Londoners pursuit of the title.