From the Under-18s Merseyside derby to Aston Villa’s away win at Fulham last weekend, Wigan referee Lewis Smith has become the latest top flight official.

His Premier League debut was quite a baptism of fire with three offside goals ruled off side and multiple claims for penalties. His bosses at the PGMOL are taking no notice of the ‘You’re not fit to referee’ chants, next up it’s Crystal Palace versus Burnley.

The 30 year old began his career in 2016 when he took charge of the Under-18 Premier League game between Liverpool and Everton. The novice impressed in the derby to clinch a more active role in the lower leagues before making his way up the ranks. Since his debut he has taken charge of 198 games.

He has become the fifth referee to be introduced to the premier league this season with the PGMOL adopting the ‘learning on the job’ approach. He has won rave reviews and is seen as one of the best out of the next generation of referees.

The PGMOL released a statement acknowledging, ‘He has risen through the refereeing ranks, and this represents an opportunity for Smith to operate in the top-flight as PGMOL continues to identify and develop talented match officials in the professional game.’

With PGMOL emphasis on promoting younger referees Smith is the youngest to officiate a Premier League game since Michael Oliver in 2010.

The 30-year-old joins six other referees in the Premier League from the northwest including Robert Jones and Peter Bankes who are originally from Merseyside.