Martin Keown’s feedback on Alan Hansen made Graeme Souness ‘practically crash automotive’

Graeme Souness revealed he almost crashed his car listening to Martin Keown’s comments about former Liverpool team-mate Alan Hansen.

The Liverpool legend, 71, furiously phoned into talkSPORT back in 2021 after pundit Keown criticised Hansen and Mark Lawrenson’s central defensive partnership. Keown, an Arsenal legend and former centre-back himself, was discussing the impact of the back-pass rule, arguing that it improved the game as players like the aforementioned duo would often waste time passing to their goalkeeper – Bruce Grobbelaar.

That triggered Souness, who was tuning in from his car at the time, prompting him to ring up and challenge Keown’s controversial comments. The Scot defended his ex-team-mates by denying that they were ever as cynical as Keown had suggested.

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“I nearly crashed my car, Martin, after what you said,” Souness fumed over the phone. “I understand there have been improvements to the game, without a shadow of a doubt, but I totally disagree with you in terms of Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson.

“You could’ve picked any other partnership that was playing football at that time and called them out on what they would do by going back to the goalkeeper at every opportunity when put under pressure. But you’ve named the best two footballing centre-halves that arguably this country has ever seen!”

Keown stood his ground, however, responding: “They could’ve picked any pass they wanted, but they went back to the goalkeeper.”

Alan Hansen arriving for the funeral of former Liverpool Fc legend Tommy Smith, at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Blundellsands Liverpool. Smith played as a defender at Liverpool for 16 years from 1962 to 1978.
Alan Hansen is reportedly “seriously ill” in hospital

Souness hit back, saying: “Martin, I played with them for about 300 games! I know how good they were. You couldn’t get the ball off them, they were midfield players in disguise, that’s how technically good they were.

“The last thing they would do is go back because every part of their training was geared to go forward. You made it sound, for somebody who’s not seen them play, like they couldn’t play. That’s how it sounded.”

Liverpool announced on Sunday afternoon that Hansen, 68, is “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.”

Graeme Souness (L) lifts the European Cup with Kenny Dalglish (centre) and Alan Hansen (R) in 1978
Graeme Souness (L) lifts the European Cup with Kenny Dalglish (centre) and Alan Hansen (R) in 1978

Hansen’s illustrious Liverpool career began in 1977 and spanned 14 years. His multitude of trophies included eight First Division titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and three European Cups.

He was paired with fellow centre-back Lawrenson, 67, for much of that period, creating one of English football’s most formidable defences. Meanwhile, Souness played for the Reds from 1978 to 1984, winning 12 major honours, including three European Cups and five First Division titles.