Graham Poll has urged referee Mark Halsey to seriously consider hanging up his whistle after his performance in Wigan’s win over Newcastle.
Halsey has come in for criticism for his failure to punish Wigan’s Callum McManaman for a horror challenge on Massadio Haidara during Sunday’s game at the DW Stadium.
The 51-year-old, who returned to officiating in March 2010 after a successful battle with cancer, did not even award the Magpies a free-kick for the knee-high tackle, which put Haidara in hospital.
And former Premier League official Poll, speaking on the Sports Breakfast, said: “The modern footballer is fitter than ever and you have to question whether a 50-year-old can keep up with play sufficiently and have the mental sharpness to make decisions under that intense scrutiny.
“I watch games and I see some referees who try their very hardest to run around as best as they possibly can and I get very disappointed when I see someone who doesn’t do that. That’s my opinion and I refereed a lot of Premier League games and I worked very hard.
“Mark used to be one of the fittest referees in the Premier League. He was incredible. I did fitness tests with him again and again. He used to run around like a mad thing. He was a very, very good referee.
“People asked me why I stopped when I was 42. I’d rather stop refereeing and people say you should have done another couple of years than go on too long. That’s why I’m fearing for Mark.
“He’s been through a tough time in his life and no one wishes that on anyone. I just hope Mark looks at it and thinks, 'is it time? Is this a signal to go? Let’s bow out with some grace and dignity and go. It’s time for me to call it a day.'”