Former referee Mark Halsey believes Howard Webb needs to “look at himself in the mirror” and re-evaluate his career priorities after another maligned display in Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
Webb turned down what appeared to be a clear penalty in the 64th minute when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain clattered into Liverpool’s Luis Suarez – only minutes after awarding the Uruguayan a spot-kick in a separate incident.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who himself was lucky to escape a second yellow card for a foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain, called it a “stonewall” penalty.
Webb’s performance also angered Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who claimed it was not the first time his team had suffered at the hands of the official this season.
Despite taking charge of the 2010 World Cup final – and being England’s representative for the competition in Brazil this summer – Halsey believes Webb’s performances this season have been below what is expected of him.
“Howard has made an error of judgement,” Halsey said on talkSport.
“He has not had the best of seasons. He has not been the Howard Webb we all know that is going to the World Cup. Perhaps he may need a little rest because he is perhaps doing too much.”
Halsey, himself a prominent English referee until retirement last year, is convinced Webb’s recent drop in form is because he has too many distractions outside of football in his life.
“He is not just refereeing football matches, he is doing a lot of work outside of football. He is doing a lot of after-dinner speaking. Everyone wants Howard Webb because he was the World Cup referee.
“He has got to take a good look at himself in the mirror and ask himself what he wants. This is his full-time job and he has got to concentrate on this.
“He has got to forget about what he is doing outside of football. He has got to put that on the back-burner and he has got to concentrate on what he is being paid for full-time.”