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01st Apr 2022

Referee Mike Dean was ‘in awe’ of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira

Daniel Brown

Dean Keane Viera

‘I was probably in awe of them as well to be fair’

Premier League referee Mike Dean has admitted that he was “in awe” of some of the league’s “big personality players” when he was first promoted to become a top-flight official.

The 53-year-old Dean, who will call time on his Premier League career at the end of the current season, also insisted that, contrary to reports, he hasn’t yet been offered a role solely as a VAR official.

Despite his larger than life presence on the pitch, the referee has revealed that he was previously ‘nervous’ about refereeing certain players.

Dean Keane Viera

Dean admits he was ‘a bit nervous and scared of making a decision’

“I got in the Premier League in 2000 when I was 31, 32, and you had massive, big personality players the Keanes, people like that, Vieira, they were all around then,” Dean told BBC Sport.

“For me to come from the Football League to the Premier League and refereeing those players… from reffing League 1 and League 2 and the odd Championship game to the Premier League… it was just a massive step, and I was probably in awe of them as well to be fair.

“[I was] probably a bit nervous and a bit scared of making a decision.”

However, Dean was able to get over his nerves and believes that his unique style of refereeing – although not popular with everybody – has helped him during his career.

He aded: “I think the players I’ve refereed over the years, some don’t like me and some do like me.

“But when I’ve given players a bit of stick back, or given them a one-liner back, and they don’t like it, then I will apologise five minutes later and say ‘sorry for what I said before’, and we move on and we shake hands.

“But I think players like the way I ref, because they know they can give me some stuff and I can give it them back, and they can get away with it within the boundaries that are allowed.”

Dean Keane Viera

Dean hasn’t yet been offered a role solely as a VAR

Dean claims that he hasn’t yet been offered a role solely as a VAR and admits that he will miss the day-to-day on-pitch involvement.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Times have moved on, referees are getting older, I am not getting as fit as I used to be, so things have got to change.

“I have made the decision myself, I have gone out on my terms which is what I wanted to do and nobody else’s terms which is good.

“I will miss when the season starts next season and not walking out to referee a game, but I have had a good innings with 22 years.

“It is time to move on and see what is in the future maybe we don’t know yet, but we will see.”

During his career, he has issued over 100 red cards and became the first official in the Premier League to do so.

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