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Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Neville hails 'new Cahill' Fellaini

Richard Jolly

Phil Neville believes Everton have found their new Tim Cahill in Marouane Fellaini.

The Belgian scored the only goal of the game as David Moyes' side kicked off their season with a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Goodison Park.

Fellaini was playing in the role between midfield and attack that Cahill made his own during his eight-year stay on Merseyside, and captain Neville led the tributes to the club's record signing.

He said: "He was unplayable. Fellaini was the focal point for us - but I think his best position is when he is causing problems in the final third. He is such an awkward player to play against.

"We've lost Tim Cahill, but Fellaini can fit into that role. Him and [striker Nikica] Jelavic look like they can form a good partnership."

Goalkeeper Tim Howard said Fellaini reminded him of another old Evertonian, target man Duncan Ferguson. Howard was a United player when the uncompromising Scot tormented Sir Alex Ferguson's side in another 1-0 Everton victory back in April 2005.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "Like Felli, Duncan was strong and powerful and had the same make-up in terms of being able to dominate someone for 90 minutes.

"He was clearly our key man, and the tough part about having such a great performance like that in your team is that we can just play at it non-stop and it didn't seem like they could defend against it. They couldn't cope with him.

"It's impossible to defend against him because he's so tall and takes up such good positions that you either have to come through the back of him and concede a foul, or stop him controlling it like that with his chest, which is hard."

Defender Phil Jagielka joked that there is only one way to stop Fellaini. "He plays like that in training sometimes and there's not much you can do apart from foul him or pull his hair, but obviously you can't do that in a Premier League match," he said.

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