HE GETS kicked, he bleeds, he often feels abandoned by referees but fortune favours the brave.
Marouane Fellaini believes he is getting better at keeping calm and fighting on despite being targeted by opponents more than ever before this season – and now he hopes his growing maturity is rewarded with some long over-due luck for Everton.
The midfielder is dreaming of lifting a trophy in a blue shirt during his fifth, and perhaps final year, on Merseyside.
And even if he has to face more physical punishment en route to a possible date with destiny, the 25-year-old is ready for it.
His manager would like him to be as resilient as Lionel Messi and Fellaini insists he is trying his best.
“I know what the manager means,” he says. “I try to control myself. I’ve been playing nearly every game up front this season and sometimes it’s difficult to control myself.
“Normally I play defensive midfield and it’s me who gives the kick! It’s been different this season, so I’ve had to try and get on with it.”
Fellaini was furious with referee Lee Mason when the official ignored a dangerous challenge by Norwich’s Bradley Johnson which left a deep cut on his leg during the 2-1 defeat by the Canaries last month.
“I can’t talk about referees. It’s their job to see if a player wins the ball or not,” he says.
“At Norwich I was angry because you could see the blood on my leg.
“I have got more disciplined as the seasons have gone on. It’s not easy but I’ve tried.”
The Belgium international midfielder knows the Blues will require the rub of the green to achieve their dreams this season, starting against Wigan at Goodison tomorrow.
“Football is down to luck a little bit,” he says with a shrug off his broad shoulders. “You need it to lift a trophy.
“It was hard last year because we got so close to the final and then lost to Liverpool. We played well in the first half but in the second we got tired, stressed maybe and we all know the result. I hope this season Everton can go to the final.”
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has admitted his club’s priority is Premier League survival rather than silverware, but Fellaini is not buying suggestions the Spaniard will send out a substantially weakened or distracted team tomorrow.
“I don’t think he’ll send out a weakened team but even if he did we won’t be taking anything for granted,” he says. “The Wigan players will want to get to Wembley as well.
“Wigan is a difficult team to play against, so hopefully the supporters will help us.
“Wigan try to keep the ball and play nice football. They won’t be easy.
“They’re results have been strange recently but that’s the Premier League for you.
“Every week you just don’t know. The FA Cup is 50/50. Everybody wants to go to Wembley but it’s all about how you play on the day.
“We’ve already seen that. It was difficult to play against Oldham – a tough game. But it’s easier when you play at home.”
Fellaini is adamant in his belief that if Wigan are dealt with, Everton must fear nobody.
“We can play against the big teams now,” he says. “There’s a lot of motivation for us.”
The midfielder is grateful fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas appears to have recaptured his electrifying form just in time to fire Everton’s ambitions.
“I’ve known him for eight years and it’s nice to have him around,” he says of his team-mate for club and country.
“Everybody knows he’s a good player – he’s full of action and can make and score goals.”
But however popular Mirallas is with the supporters, if Everton reach Wembley there will be only one Belgian the travelling Toffees will make banners about and don wigs in his honour.
“It's always a nice moment when you see the fans with the wigs and the banners,” he says with a smile.
“But I'm refusing to think too much about it. We can talk about Wembley if we can do it on Saturday.”