I was a bit nervous referring Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira- Mike Dean

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I was a bit nervous referring Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira- Mike Dean

One of the most recognised football referees, Mike Dean has gone down memory lane speaking on his 22-year journey as a referee.

Dean who is set to hang up his whistle at the end of the season has been at the centre of many controversial decisions over the years.

He is also renowned for his amusing facial expressions and flamboyant behaviour on the pitch.

Speaking to Football Focus, the 53-year-old Dean said he was nervous to referee in the Premier League with players like Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira.

“You had massive, big-personality players, the [Roy] Keanes, people like that, [Patrick] Vieira – they were all around then,” he said.

“For me to come from the Football League to the Premier League and referee those players… it was just a massive step.

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

He also revealed that the most intimidating manager was former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger.

“It has to be Arsene [Wenger] when he was at Arsenal,” said Dean.

“I always found it tough, not refereeing Arsenal in general but refereeing Arsenal when he was the manager. It was just his presence – he wanted the best for Arsenal all the time and if he could get any way of getting one over you he would do.

“Since he has finished football I have seen him and he has been great. Cross the white line and everyone is different, like referees. We are normal people.”