Sport-locker.net caught up with the 2010 World Cup final referee Howard Webb at the Final of Nike’s The Chance campaign…
What do you think about The Chance?
It’s a great opportunity for young guys, those who may have slipped through the net or maybe those who haven’t yet had their chance, to be given this opportunity. To spend some time in Barcelona, and play with other talented footballers but also to show the world how good they can be is a great opportunity.
There were lots of players from different countries out there, how did their different styles of play gel together on the pitch?
I think there is a different football culture in different parts of the world. You could see the way the guys play; sometimes you can almost identify where they are from by the way they play the game. Sometimes they almost emulate the stars of their national teams and for me it’s part of the enjoyment of football, seeing the different ways it is played around the world.
What was it like to referee the game today?
The spirit on display was excellent, there was nobody making a problem for me as a match official. Players got on with the game and concentrated on what they had to do to play the game without causing me any difficulties which made it a pleasurable experience.
What do you look for in the way that players conduct themselves on the pitch?
People learn all the way through their careers and to be a little bit humble is nice. It’s important for players to understand that you develop right through until the end of your career and to appreciate what a great game it is and to always enjoy what you do. To play football at any level is a great privilege, to play at the highest level is the highest privilege.
From a referee’s point of view, what do players need to be successful?
Players need to have a good temperament, they need to play within the laws of the game. A strong temperament, a calm and positive one, is an important part of the overall package of a footballer and something that will be important to the coaches.
What advice do you have for the successful Final 16?
I would tell them to keep their feet on the ground, to stay humble and keep working hard. Sometimes on occasions I can see players change quite early in their careers when they have success. Sometimes their attitudes change towards match officials, towards other players and the game as well. Stay hungry and positive, there is a long way to go and you never stop learning for sure.
And for the players from the Final 100 who didn’t make the final cut?
For the guys who don’t make it, there is a future for them as well. There are players who I have refereed in the Premier league who were identified at a late age, for example Ian Wright, so I would say just keep striving and keep trying. Football has life at all different levels, not just the top level, but right the way through to local football leagues. So I would say keep playing your football, keep enjoying it and who knows where it will take you.