'He's probably the most arrogant man I've met on a football pitch': Stephen Hunt on Premier League referee Mike Dean
In Stephen Hunt's latest Sunday Independent column, he talks about his hopes for football in 2017 - including some things he would like to change.
Hunt says he has been 'encouraged' by a more physical style in the Premier League this season off the back of a number of teams adopting an aggressive high pressing style, but the ex-Ireland international isn't completely happy with the officiating in the top flight.
While praising officials for allowing a contest for the ball, Hunt reserves criticism for one 'arrogant' referee.
"There's one referee, however, I'd like to see more respect from," Hunt writes in the Sunday Independent.
"You can probably guess who it is - Mike Dean. He's the most arrogant referee going. In fact, he's probably the most arrogant man I've ever met on a football pitch. At least you could have banter with players, no matter what they were like. I've come across some big players in my time and there were times when you'd be thinking, 'I can't believe he's said something like that', but, even in that context, Dean takes the cake.
"He just won't talk to you. He dismisses you like you're a piece of dirt."
In today's column, Hunt also discusses the impact that the influx of money into Chinese football is having on the game, reserving particular praise for Cristiano Ronaldo's decision to turn down a huge offer to go to Asia.
Read the full column in today's Sunday Independent.
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.