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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Halsey: Howard Webb was outstanding

Football will miss the "aura" of retired referee Howard Webb, former official Mark Halsey has told The Sun.

Webb announced his retirement from refereeing on Wednesday, bringing to an end a 25-year career that included overseeing the 2010 World Cup final.

The former police officer from Yorkshire's performances last season were the subject of some criticism, in particular in February when he dismissed Liverpool claims for a penalty against Arsenal.

During the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, Webb handed out 14 yellow cards but did not send off Netherlands' Nigel de Jong for a dangerous challenge on Spain's Xabi Alonso.

A year later, then-Liverpool forward Ryan Babel was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for tweeting a doctored photo of Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt, after he awarded the Red Devils an early penalty.

However, Halsey, who retired from refereeing in 2013, believes the game will miss Webb's quality.

He said: "When you looked at the matchday programme and saw Howard Webb as the ref then fans, players and managers had the confidence he would do a great job.

"We have lost a referee that you can put in charge of any game and he would be a safe pair of hands.

"There are only four or five Prem refs out of the 17 that can handle those big games like Howard.

"He has that aura about him. Now I would like to think he can help coach the guys at the top.

"Howard was an outstanding referee. He would admit he didn't have the best of seasons last year -- but that is one since 2003.

"Howard has done everything in the game. He's now going to give something back which is great for the game and refs. Things can only improve with Howard at the top."

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