Alan Hansen, Liverpool and Scotland legend, seriously ill in hospital

<span>Alan Hansen, second from right, holds the First Division trophy after <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Liverpool;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Liverpool</a> were crowned champions for an 18th time in 1990.</span><span>Photograph: Colorsport/Shutterstock</span>

Alan Hansen, the legendary former Liverpool and Scotland defender, is seriously ill in hospital.

Liverpool confirmed the news on Sunday afternoon and the club are providing support to the family of the 68‑year‑old, who retired in 1991 to begin a hugely successful career as a television pundit.

“The thoughts and support of everyone at Liverpool FC are with our legendary former captain Alan Hansen, who is currently seriously ill in hospital,” a statement read. “The club is currently in contact with Alan’s family to provide our support at this difficult time, and our thoughts, wishes and hopes are with Alan and all of the Hansen family.

“We will provide any further updates as we receive them in due course, and we request that the Hansen family’s privacy is respected at this time.”

Hansen joined Liverpool from Partick Thistle in 1977 and won three European Cups, eight league titles, two FA Cups and three League Cups in 620 appearances for the Anfield club before retiring in March 1991 because of injury.

The man known as “Jockey” also won 26 caps for his country and played at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, having made his international debut in 1979. He is widely recognised as being one of the finest centre-backs of his generation, combining ­excellent strength, speed and awareness with supreme composure in and out of possession.

After he hung up his boots Hansen became a regular on the BBC, ­appearing on Match of the Day as well as the broadcaster’s live ­coverage, establishing himself as a respected and charismatic voice on the game. In that role, however, he is perhaps best known for claiming “you can’t win anything with kids” after Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995-96 Premier League season and after Alex ­Ferguson had fielded a team containing a host of raw, young talent including Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and, from the bench, David Beckham. United went on to win the Double that season.

Hansen retired from punditry in May 2014 and has largely lived a quiet life since. He is married and has two children.