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Jordan Henderson responds to being booed by England fans and stands by Saudi Arabia move

Jordan Henderson responds to being booed by England fans in the friendly against Australia and stands by his move to Saudi Arabia.

The former Liverpool player reiterated his commitment to the national team after England won 1-0 win on Friday, with Henderson booed when being subbed off in second half.

This was his first game in the country since his controversial summer move to Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq.

He described the abuse as ‘disappointing’, but defiantly insists he will continue to give his all when representing his country.

England manager Gareth Southgate said the “it defies logic” that some fans booed Jordan Henderson, however, he didn’t want “to elaborate” on the reasons why fans jeered his player. See more on that HERE.

Henderson had been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights ahead of the Qatar World Cup, however, he’s made the switch to Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is illegal and can result in capital punishment.

He insists he was not aware of the boos at the time despite England boss Gareth Southgate admitting he heard it.

Henderson said, as per the Mirror: “I’m not sure what the reaction was to be honest. Everybody has got their own opinion.

“I love playing for England, I have done for many years, that’s why I’m still here. I still want to play for England for as long as I possibly can and give everything for the team, for my country.

“To lead the team out tonight means an awful lot to me and my family. Another special night and we got the win which is the most important thing.

“It’s not nice, your own fans, if they were booing. But listen, people have got their own opinions. Whenever I bump into anyone on the street it’s always been positive stuff and nice things said. But listen, it won’t change who I am and what I do for this team and for my country. I give absolutely everything every time.”

After being asked whether he understood why he was booed, Henderson added: “Erm, not really. I don’t know… do you? If people want to boo if I’m playing in a different country, that’s fine. Like I said, everyone is going to have an opinion when I’m playing over in Saudi.

“I’ve spoken in the past about the reasons for that. Whether people believe us or not is up to them. But when I’m here with England, it doesn’t change anything. I give absolutely everything. Of course it’s disappointing, but it won’t change what I do here. I want to keep playing and keep fighting and help the team become successful.

“I haven’t been surprised by the reaction (from the LGBTQ community) because I can understand the reasons in what they’re saying. I look at it from a different point of view, obviously. But I can understand it and I’ve got to take that on the chin.”

Henderson said he had appreciated the support from Southgate, saying, as per Sky Sports: “The gaffer has been really good as always, to be honest, I’ve always felt support and backing from him and the rest of the lads to be fair,” he said.

“So it’s nice to know that you’ve got the backing of the manager and your team-mates but that’s never been in doubt for me. That’s always been the case.”

When questioned if he had been surprised by the scale of the reaction to his move, Henderson said: “No, I haven’t been surprised by that because I can understand the reasons in what they’re saying.

“I look at it from a different point of view, obviously. But I can understand it and I’ve got to take that on the chin.

“But as I keep on saying, it doesn’t change the person that I am. I’m playing football in a different country in Saudi where I want to try to improve the game on the pitch but also things off the pitch as well. That’s all I keep trying to do.”

Asked about what he meant by ‘things off the pitch’, Henderson added he was talking about the structure of Al Ettifaq and the Saudi Pro League, rather than societal issues in Saudi Arabia.

“Yeah, the football, I’m not a politician. You know what I mean? I’m not going to get into politics,” he said.

“All I’ve ever done is concentrate on my football and try to help people that have asked for my help.

“When I’m going out there, I’m just playing football trying to improve the league, trying to improve my own team and trying to win football games. I do the same when I come here.”

Henderson on impact on his game from playing in Saudi Arabia: “I’m playing in that league now and I’m still here, still playing,” he said when asked about how the move could affect his chances of continuing to play for England or be selected for the Euros squad.

“I had conversations before with the manager, what I thought was the right move for me at that time with everything that was going on at Liverpool as well.

“So it was a big decision, but one where I felt as though I could still be playing regularly. Maybe not in a top league like the Premier League, of course. But I think when you’re talking about that, you’re talking about physical attributes and physical attributes isn’t a problem for me.

“I’m an experienced player, I know how to play football, you don’t forget that when you just go out and play in a different league. So when I’ve been back here, when I’ve trained, when I’ve played games, I felt as good as ever really.

“Yeah, well, of course [there is a step up from Saudi football to training with England team-mates] but I’m used to that with these players. I’ve been playing with these players for a long time now. So when I come in and train with them, of course, the level goes up but I feel normal and it’s the same for me.

“I feel as fit as I ever have. Probably because over there the conditions are quite hard at times with the weather and the humidity and the warm. So when I’ve come here, I’ve felt pretty good and in training and the games I have felt really good. So hopefully that can continue.

“I mean, look at my numbers physically and my output in a game, whether that’s in Saudi, whether that’s here for England, I don’t see that as an issue.

“That’s why I want to keep on playing as long as I possibly can for England because it means a lot to me and always has done and I want to try and help the team become successful in games here but also in big tournaments and hopefully, I can keep performing, I can keep fit and then stay in the squad for the tournament next summer.”

Henderson spoke on publicly backing a bid by Saudi Arabia to host the World Cup in 2034.

“I think by that time they will put on a pretty good World Cup, to be honest,” he said. “So I think that’s exciting times for them as a country and I think it will be a special tournament if they ended up getting it.

“I’ve been there for two months and there’s been no issues in terms of fans or anything like that.

“So again, I think they’ll enjoy the experience there. It is a long waiting time from now, but I think they’ll enjoy the experience there.

“When we look at Qatar, the way that they did the job there. It was a good tournament, I think the fans enjoyed the tournament and I think Saudi would be no different.”

Social media users had their say as Jordan Henderson responds to being booed by England fans and stands by his Saudi Arabia move…

@LFC_NathanYNWA: He went against his morals and went to Saudi, and said he didn’t go for the money 😭😭😭😭😭😭

@mainheadgreeny: Before the Qatar World Cup “human rights in Qatar are shocking and disappointing”. Now playing in Saudi Arabia “When we look at Qatar it was a good tournament. I think the fans enjoyed the tournament and I think Saudi would be no different”. The man deserves every single boo.

@WhiteHartLiz: I’m not surprised at the booing as he spent years saying he would not support their regime due to human rights issues. He was also voted player for the year for his stance. As soon as the signing was announced I knew this would be an issue so I’m surprised he’s surprised.

@5_A_Side_Goalie: England fans admitted it was “disappointing” that Jordan Henderson decided to sell out and go to the Saudi pro League and failed to understand why people would react negatively to it……..

@this_is_amber: Certainly didn’t and wouldn’t boo him. But half expected it. To state publicly you didn’t go because of the money is just ludicrous. Well it certainly wasn’t the challenging opposition…

@mancityneil: He shouldn’t be there and he will know that. The fact he is still selected is ridiculous.

@GazTheYiddo: All this Jordan Henderson booing stuff – easy way to solve it. Don’t pick him, he 33, plays in a bang average league and has always been massively overrated. Sadly Southgate doesn’t have the balls to do it though.

@Mikey_R_1992: Nah you deserve the boos. You sold your soul and you spat in the face of communities who thought you were their ally, whether it be LGBTQ+ or even women in football. The boos make me feel closer to the England team than I have in years.

@RyanHTAFC8: Lolll what an absolute fool he is. He deserves every one of those boos, absolute hyprocite. Shouldn’t even be in the squad let alone be captain and starting every game, only because of that clown of a manager we have who picks his favourites.

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