Alan Hansen reveals that pre-show anxiety was a factor in his MOTD departure.
He may have won European Cups in stadiums such as Wembley, Parc des Princes and Stadio Olimpico, but Liverpool legend Alan Hansen says that the arena which made him most nervous was the serene environment of a BBC Studio.
The former defender-turned-pundit was one of the most recognisable television personalities in the United Kingdom for 22 years following his weekly appearances on the BBC's flagship football program Match of the Day, initially alongside host Des Lynam and later Gary Lineker.
The 60-year-old quit the show in 2014, with the World Cup in Brazil marking his last involvement with the famous broadcasting organisation.
The Scot, who joined the program in 1991, one year after retiring, seemed to bring his no-nonsense demeanour with him into the television world, but Hansen reveals that it was a very different story before the cameras began to roll.
"There was no training, it was sink or swim. 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," he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
"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."
In his final years with the BBC, Hansen was reported to be earning up to £1.5 million per year for his punditry, at a rate of £50,000 per episode.
He won three European Cups and eight top-flight league titles during his memorable 14-year spell with the Reds.
Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer is the program's current lead pundit.