Leo Martin: Mike Dean has been one of the best in the business

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Aspiring Premier League referee Leo Martin paid tribute to veteran Mike Dean, who is retiring at the end of the season.

Dean will end his 22 year career as a referee at the end of the current Premier League campaign, but is likely to continue as a full-time VAR official.

The 53-year-old has refereed 553 Premier League matches since his introduction to the top division back in 2000.

Wolverhampton referee Leo Martin reflected on Dean’s retirement.

He said: “Mike Dean has had a long successful career as a referee and he deserves all the praise he is currently getting. I don’t think there will ever be another referee who can replicate the drama and entertainment, which he brings to every match.

“I think football fans will remember the aura he had every time he came onto the field. Hopefully, he can bring some more drama off the field now that he’s looking to become a permanent video assistant referee.

“Mike Dean has been one of the best in the business and I’m glad that he will now be able to continue his role away from the pitch as a VAR official.”

The Merseyside-born referee has taken charge of some of the division’s biggest games, issuing 114 reds cards in the process-more than any other referee.

He has also issued the most yellow cards and awarded a Premier League record 184 penalties.

Martin has spoken positively about Dean’s ability to manage and control games.

He added: “Mike Dean has been in the spotlight for several years now, officiating many high-profile Premier League encounters. However, he is never fazed and never lets the game get out of control.

“If Mike Dean is appointed as the referee you know the game will not get out of control. His ability to control games is the reason why so many young referees look up to him.

“Despite all of his experience, you would expect him to feel the pressure during these high profile games. But he never looks fazed by the occasion and he always looks extremely composed.”

The Premier League referee is in talks with Professional Game Match Officials over a switch to become a permanent video assistant referee, following in the steps of Lee Mason.

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