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Gary Lineker confirmed Alan Hansen's 'crippling' reason behind Match of the Day exit

David Cannon/ALLSPORT
-Credit: (Image: David Cannon/ALLSPORT)


Liverpool continues to keep Alan Hansen in its thoughts, after the club confirmed on Sunday that he was 'seriously ill' in hospital. The legendary defender is beloved by both Reds fans and the wider footballing community, having enjoyed a long post-playing stint as a pundit.

Hansen eventually left the BBC and Match of the Day in 2014, bowing out after covering that summer's World Cup. He gave his own reasons for that departure, and they have subsequently been confirmed by Gary Lineker.

Impressively, Lineker is still going strong as host of the flagship football show. He has previously revealed that he loved working with former Liverpool defender Hansen — whom he believes blazed a trail for modern pundits like Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.

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"He was probably the first person that went down the more analytic route, a path now followed by so many," reflected Lineker on the Match of the Day podcast last year. "He was a brilliant pundit.

"He was incredibly nervous, which is why he quit. He got so nervous. He used to shuffle his feet on the floor."

Hansen never let on as much at the time, but admitted in 2016 that nerves used to plague him ahead of media appearances. "There was no training, it was sink or swim," Hansen said. "I was lucky to work with a master, Des Lynam.

“After 22 years I kept on telling myself I wouldn’t get so nervous, but it got worse. That was one of the reasons I left. I was getting more nervous and I’d say: ‘What are you doing?’ The BBC were terrific, I loved the people and Match of the Day but I didn’t enjoy the nerves."

Liverpool goal scorers Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish celebrate with the trophy in the dressing room after the 1981 League Cup Final replay victory against West Ham United at Villa Park on April 1, 1981 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Alan Hansen had a glittering playing career with Liverpool. -Credit:Duncan Raban/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Lineker responded to the news about Hansen on social media platform X. Quote tweeting the statement posted by Liverpool, he added: "Horrendous news. Thoughts are with Alan, Janet and all the family."

Liverpool.com says: We naturally echo Lineker's words, and those of the club. All of our thoughts are with Hansen and his family and friends at this time.

Ahead of his time as a player, where he made a name for himself as a truly ball-playing center-back, Hansen was also ahead of his time during his days as a pundit with his analysis. And you could even say he was ahead of his time in talking openly about his nerves, something you can imagine would have been taboo in the football dressing rooms where he cut his teeth.