Marouane Fellaini has demanded more protection from English referees during penalty box jostles.

Fellaini was suspended for three games earlier in the season after he headbutted Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross. The Belgian did not contest that he was wrong to lash out at the England international, but added that if the referee that day, Mark Halsey, had taken action against Shawcross for his part in the scuffle that led to the headbutt, the incident would have been avoided.

I won’t let myself be messed around by defenders who want to tear off my foot or my head. If the referee in the Stoke game had done his job properly I would not have been suspended. I was conned,” Fellaini said to Sky Sports.

He added: “I should not have reacted the way I did, as refs can’t blow for a foul every single time. Besides, this was Stoke, and we knew to expect a physical battle. They pulled our shirts and fouled us throughout the game. In the end I saw red and shouldn’t have. It was my fault. I am not angry with Shawcross. He tried to stop me, and was just doing his job.

But his hands were all over me the whole time. However, nobody said a word against him. He is English after all, so no problem!

Fellaini went on to suggest that it is easier to punish him for wrongdoing than another player because he is more noticeable – with his size and distinctive hairstyle. The Belgium international noted it has been that way since he came to England in 2008, moving to Everton for a club record transfer fee.

I can see them keeping a special eye on me – they are frightened of me,” Fellaini claimed. “During my first season at Everton I got 12 bookings. At the end of it a delegation of referees visited the club to explain why I had got so many yellow cards.

But they ended up admitting some of the bookings were unduly harsh. I ask myself why they get given to me. No doubt it’s because I am not someone who can pass by unnoticed. I am tall, and my hairstyle is easily recognised. I know how to give defenders problems.

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