Ex-footballers we’d love to see as referees after Webb makes plea to players

Howard Webb has called for more former football players to become referees after they retire from the sport.

Most stars opt to venture into management, or become pundits once they hang up their boots. But Webb has pleaded with the game's ex-stars to consider picking up a whistle to marshal games as another career option.

Although refereeing doesn't seem like an attractive proposition for retired players at the moment, Webb reckons it only takes one star to become an official and inspire others to follow suit. The Premier League’s new head of refereeing said, via The Guardian: "We’ve got to look at how we can entice other people in. We’ve always struggled to get ex-players involved but I’m sure somebody out there will want to be a trailblazer.

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“I don’t expect players who’ve been at the very highest level and have got other opportunities as well to come into it. But somebody who’s played a decent career and has got a good knowledge of the game … I think there’s an opportunity. We would welcome them wholeheartedly.”

And here, Daily Star Sport looks at the former players that had a domineering presence on the pitch, who could be successful referees. Ranging from hard-nut Roy Keane to the fiery Graeme Souness, we've got you covered.

What former player do you think would make a good referee? Let us know in the comments section

Roy Keane

Roy Keane is someone who will have no trouble asserting his control over games as an official. The fiery Irishman struck fear into the heart of opponents as a player, getting into spats with the likes of Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira in his heyday.

The midfielder's temper even proved to be his downfall at Manchester United after he publicly berated his team-mates, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to show him to door. Keane still bursts into fits of rage as a pundit and recently slammed Brazil and Ghana for dancing at the World Cup.

Graeme Souness

If Graeme Souness was any younger, he'd be the ideal pick to be a referee. Although he's still fighting fit, it's unlikely that the Scottish legend would want to spend his afternoons running up and down the pitch after players at the age of 69.

But the ex-midfield menace proved on a number of occasions that he means business throughout his career. Souness once broke the jaw of a rival player when he was playing for Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup semi-final against Dinamo București.

And just like Keane, Souness has been unrelenting as a pundit. The hostile pair even had an explosive clash over a penalty decision at the World Cup during Argentina's match against Saudi Arabia.

Gary Neville

Gary Neville's never been one to shy away from drama as he's shown on numerous occasions throughout his career as a player and pundit. Neville displayed his leadership skills during his stint as captain at Manchester United after the departure of Keane.

The ex-defender won't be swayed to make decisions by fans if he was a referee, and showed he can handle the fire when he taunted Liverpool fans after the Red Devils beat their rivals in 2006.

And nowadays Neville's just as vocal as he was when he was playing, giving his opinion on a slew of issues ranging from politics to the rights of workers at the Qatar World Cup. He even felt the wrath of former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo after daring to criticise the fallen Old Trafford icon earlier this season.

Robbie Savage

Former Leicester City hardman Robbie Savage has all attributes to become a good referee. Savage was the recipient of 89 yellow cards – a former Premier League record – during his career, so he'll know exactly what behaviour will warrant a booking when brandishing cards. Savage is already acquainted with the referee's toilet after he used the officials' loo before a game, resulting in a £10,000 fine from the Football Association.

Savage hasn't been in much trouble as a pundit. But he did land himself in hot water at the World Cup after slamming Iran's football ability.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand kept some of the best strikers in the world at bay during his time at Manchester United. So the ex-defender is well prepared to deal with the players of today as a referee.

Ferdinand's also got a fiery temper, and he and he swore at Chelsea stewards and accidentally kicked a female one, which he apologised for, in the tunnel after United's loss to the Blues in 2008. The England legend got in trouble another time when he missed a drug test in 2003, resulting in an eight-month ban and a £50,000 fine.

Ferdinand has no issue calling out players and managers as a pundit. Recently, he was involved in a spat with fellow football analyst Jamie Carragher over his defence of Ronaldo.


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