Ajax move a football decision – Henderson

19 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Ajax move was right for me and my family – Henderson

Jordan Henderson says his move to Ajax is a “football decision”, adding “sometimes these things don’t work” of his time in the Saudi Pro League.

Henderson only joined Al-Ettifaq in July but had his contract cancelled so he could join the Dutch giants.

He also reiterated his apology to members of the LGBT+ community upset at his move to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal.

“My beliefs haven’t changed and they never will,” said the midfielder.

“I said six months ago that if I offended anyone or if people feel like I let them down then I apologise for that and I’ll apologise again.

“I haven’t changed as a person, I never have.”

Henderson was a prominent supporter of the LGBTQ+ community during his time at Liverpool so received considerable criticism when he left Anfield for Saudi Arabia in the summer.

He signed a three-year contract, worth a reported £700,000 a week, but left having made just 17 league appearances.

Despite his short stay, the former Sunderland trainee would not criticise the league and said he would not advise players against going.

“I think a lot of people would like me to sit here and criticise the Saudi thing and everything that went with that but that certainly wasn’t the case and not something that I’m doing to do,” he said.

“I’ve got full respect for the league and Al-Ettifaq the club and the people over there. They really made me feel welcome. Unfortunately sometimes these things in life just don’t work out, in football and life in general.

“If you look at big players that are there and loving every second of it and staying there for a long time. You might get players who don’t settle and don’t stay for a long time, or whatever it might be, things can change quickly.

“I would definitely not sit here and speak badly of the league, the clubs or anything like that.”

Henderson denied he turned down a move back to the Premier League because of a tax issue, saying: “Don’t believe what you read in the press. It had nothing to do with anything but football.”

He added that he is ready to make his Ajax debut “as soon as possible” but needs to wait for his work permit to come through.

‘I’ve always got the Euros in mind’

Henderson said he had been in regular contact with England manager Gareth Southgate with this summer’s European Championship in Germany in his thoughts when he made the move to Ajax.

Southgate continued to pick the midfielder in his Three Lions squads after he joined Al-Ettifaq, though he was booed by some England fans on his first game back in the country at Wembley in October – something Henderson admitted to being hurt by.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I haven’t been hurt but at the same time I understand it,” he said. “I do care, if people think I don’t, I actually do care. I do think a lot about football and how I treat people.

“I totally respect their opinion and how they view me as a person. I had to take it on the chin and I’ll continue to do that.

“I’m in contact with Gareth regularly, as I have been for many years. That hasn’t changed. He is like that with all the players. You know how close he is to the lads.

“I’ve always got the Euros and England in mind. It is a big thing playing for my country. That has been always been the case wherever I’ve played.

“Ultimately I’ve got to be doing my job on the pitch for Ajax and then hopefully I’ll be called up for England.”