Alan Hansen is the ex-Liverpool captain, Scottish international, and long-standing staple of BBC’s Match of the Day. TCS Sport got the opportunity to ask Alan a few questions about his illustrious career, Liverpool’s resurgence and this summer’s World Cup before he retires from punditry at the end of the summer.
What would you say were the highlights of your playing career and your media career?
In my playing career, it was being the first man to captain Liverpool to the double. Amidst all the great trophies we won, that stands out as a moment of particular pride. In broadcasting, going to six World Cup finals – nothing in the game can get any better than that.
What will you miss most about your role on Match of the Day?
I will most miss the people, who have been fantastic to work with. I always loved the special atmosphere of a dressing room, and the atmosphere in Match of the Day was often pretty close to that. It’s such an iconic programme, but the great people on it have made it even better to be involved with.
Having won eight league titles with Liverpool, what do you think of their form this season? Have they got what it takes to win the title?
In the last six to eight weeks, Liverpool have been exceptional. So much pace on the counter attack – it is not just that they score loads of goals, it is the way they score them with that brilliant attacking group. Every time you see them – especially at Anfield – you just go, wow! And every time a question has been asked of them, they have answered it emphatically.
It’s a topic that everyone likes to talk about this time of year – England and major tournaments. What do you expect from the national team at this summer’s World Cup? Who is your pick to lift the trophy?
Brazil is definitely my pick to win the trophy. I of course recall watching that amazing Brazilian team of 1970 and ever since then they have felt a special football team and country – so to have a World Cup in Brazil is a dream. England will do well to qualify out of their group; and beyond that it is hard to expect too much. I’m sure expectations will grow as the tournament approaches, but I’m afraid they are likely to fall short.
Do you think the changed nature of the Premier league has harmed the development of our national team? For example, the increase in foreign players, or the practice of buying established names rather than focusing on the development of a youth system.
No doubt it has done to a certain extent. If you are young and play alongside big name star-players, it can really help you. That is what happened to me when I arrived at Anfield and was almost immediately thrown in to play alongside some great internationals. But I was played because our squad was so much smaller than they are today. Now the squads are so big, and so full of internationals, that you have to be exceptional to get in, and that does stunt some of our youth.