The omission of Liverpool’s home-grown hero Trent Alexander-Arnold from the latest England squad has caused quite the furore.
At the time Scottish players who moved to England – “Anglos” was the term used – were often excluded from selection. There was a bias in favour of those who remained north of the border.
It was also felt that Liverpool were reluctant to allow their employees to play too much international football.
At Hampden, the headquarters of the Scottish FA, there was a belief that Hansen had cried off with injury on too many occasions, only to emerge fit and healthy for Liverpool’s next game. Stein did not trust him.
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Even so, Hansen was a genuinely world-class performer. “It was crazy Scotland didn’t get more out of him,” Graeme Souness said. Souness earned 54 caps, which is not as substantial a return as might be expected for a player and leader of his talent.
Nicol’s treatment was almost as bewildering. He is perhaps the most underrated player in Liverpool history.
If he had spent his entire career at right-back, he would have been one of the finest exponents of the position the game has seen.
Instead, his versatility worked in favour of the team but against Nicol’s legacy. He could play on the left, in the centre of defence and across the midfield with little drop-off in performances.
Although he won the Footballer of the Year award in 1989, he is sometimes overlooked in the pantheon of Liverpool greats. He was frequently overlooked by Scotland, too.