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The imposing Belgium international has been in superb form for the Toffees this season but believes officials have treated him badly compared to some of his top-flight rivals.

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini thinks Premier League referees are biased towards English players and says they are "frightened" of him due to his distinctive appearance.

The Toffees midfielder has been in fantastic form this season, netting 11 goals to leave David Moyes' side into sixth place and with hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

Despite his fine goalscoring record, the Belgium international is frustrated by what he believes to be a lack of protection from officials after he was given a retrospective ban for head-butting Stoke's Ryan Shawcross in December.

"If the referee in the Stoke game had done his job properly I would not have been suspended. I was conned," he told The Sun. "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!

"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."

Fellaini received a three-match ban after the game at the Britannia Stadium in December for his attack on the English defender, but still feels officials are unduly suspicious of him because his size and hair are hard to ignore.

"I can see [referees] keeping a special eye on me, they are frightened of me," he said. "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 recognized. I know how to give defenders problems."

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