Alan Hansen has spoken of his sadness following the death of former Liverpool defender Gary Ablett.

Ablett passed away on Sunday evening following a 16 month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"He was a lovely guy and he was quite unassuming and everyone loved him," said Hansen.

"It is such a shock even though we knew he was ill. I texted him on December 7 to go and see him and have a cup of tea and he texted back to say he had a doctor's appointment but wished me a merry Christmas and said he would see me in the new year.

"Then we get the news this morning and we are absolutely stunned and cannot believe this has happened.

"Talking to two or three ex-Liverpool players we are all distraught because we all thought he was fine and recovering.

"(To die at) 46 years of age is absolutely tragic. Each and every one of us is stunned by the news."

Hansen played in the same Liverpool team in which Ablett tasted league championship and FA Cup glory - and insists he would have played even more games for the Reds had he not bee at the club at a time when they were one of the top sides in the world.

"He came into the dressing room when Liverpool had one of the great teams and he was right in there because he was a top-class player as well," he said.

"If he had joined Liverpool in the late 70s or early 80s he would have been a permanent fixture.

"He was a dedicated, consummate professional but he was right at the top of the tree.

"I had a couple of great centre-back partnerships at Liverpool and he was as good as anything.

"I played with him when he was on the left-side of defence and he made it really easy for me and as soon as he stepped into the Liverpool side I knew he was a top-class player."


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