The 31-year-old helped guide the Royals to Championship glory last season but remains unpopular with a section of supporters.
McDermott insists that McAnuff deserves more credit and has praised his skipper for showing versatility this term, having been asked to play through the middle at times.
"He is a real leader - ask anyone at the club about what he gives us," McDermott said in the Daily Star ahead of Saturday's FA Cup clash with Sheffield United.
"Jobi is the second person in 100-odd years to lift the Championship trophy here. He deserves respect. People can say whatever, I can't be responsible for that. I'm delighted with Jobi, he is a great person and leader."
Having won four of their last five Premier League and cup games, McDermott says he will continue to select McAnuff where he thinks it is of most benefit to the team.
The manager added: "People can say what they like. Others will say he can play in midfield, others will say he can play off the striker or up front.
"We're just trying to find ways. My philosophy is to try and find a way to win. I'm not a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 man, I'm just trying to find a ways to win. That's what Man United do.
"You're judged on results as a manager and you do the best you can, change things to get to a solution that is beneficial.
"Jobi loves playing in there, he can play in numerous positions. It's an experience thing. You know how to win games and Jobi knows that."