Alan Hansen admitted he got his “you can’t win anything with kids” Manchester United claim “dramatically wrong”.

Liverpool legend Hansen played at Anfield for 14 years, winning eight league titles and three European cups. The Scotsman captained the Reds and lifted 23 trophies before retiring in 1991.

Hansen, who on Sunday was reported as seriously ill in hospital, turned to football media after his playing career, where he became the BBC ’s main pundit. He was credited for changing the way in which football was analysed, but there was one occasion where it's fair to say he got it badly wrong.

Speaking after Sir Alex Ferguson ’s young United side lost 3-1 to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995/96 season, Hansen brutally assessed that the Red Devils squad was too young to reclaim their title from Blackburn Rovers. The quote has since gone down in English football folklore due to the youngsters in question - the Class of ‘92 - going on to enjoy incredible success.

Addressing United’s title credentials in 1995, Hansen infamously said: “I think they’ve got problems, I wouldn’t say they’ve got major problems. Three players have departed. The trick is to always buy when you’re strong, so he [Ferguson] needs to buy players.

“You can’t win anything with kids. You look at that Manchester United line-up today and Aston Villa when they get the team sheet it’s just going to give them a lift. It will happen every time he plays the kids. The trick to winning the championship is having strength in depth.”

United went on to win the league by four points that season, while the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt played key roles. The players went on to win multiple titles and become some of the best stars of their generation, firmly disproving Hansen’s warning.

But the 68-year-old later revealed that he had adapted the quote from his former manager Bob Paisley, which came out wrong as he said it. Hansen went on to admit he got it “dramatically wrong” in the end, though still maintaining that experience was crucial in United's title victory.

The Class of '92 ended up winning Man Utd the Premier League that season (
Image:
Getty Images)

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp said to Hansen in 2016: “You said 'Manchester United would win nothing with kids’ - and then they won the title. You used to say that statement made you [as a pundit].”

The Scot revealed: “They had a T-shirt on sale at Old Trafford, Man United sent me one. The line actually came from Bob Paisley.

“I was in my first season at Liverpool, we were struggling and Bob tells the press: ‘The only person playing half-decent is Alan Hansen.’ I think I’m doing all right. Of course, the team sheet comes in on the Friday and I’m the only one missing.

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“So I go and see him and he just says: ‘Son, the longer you are in this game the more you will realise that experience is everything.’

“Fair enough. The more I played, the more I realised experience is everything. So, I’m thinking, I can’t say that on TV, so I flipped it, but what I meant to say is: ‘You can’t win everything with kids.’

“In the history of punditry, I imagine that phrase gets used more than anything else. I got it dramatically wrong... but in many ways it’s right. Even the Manchester United lads will tell you they had Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Peter Schmeichel in goal, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona. Experience, you see.”