Gary Southgate discusses Jordan Henderson transfer amid criticism


Jordan Henderson recently joined Steven Gerrard in the Saudi Arabia pro league

Jordan Henderson and Gary Southgate

After 12 years at the club, Henderson faces the choice to finish the remaining two years of his contract at Liverpool or accept a lucrative offer for Al Etifaq.

The Reds captain opted for the latter, drawing criticism from the start of the transfer process to the final official announcement, including from the Kop Outs, Liverpool's official LGBT+ fans group and the club's supporters forum.

During his time as Reds captain, Henderson became an ally and ambassador for LGBTQ+ fans. His move to Al-Ettifaq, where he will be managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, put the 33-year-old's faith to the test as homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Henderson has yet to respond to the criticism, but, today, his national team manager Gary Southgate was asked about it on talkSPORT: "Yes (I can understand it), and I think he knows that’s coming. He’s fully aware of that," Southgate told presenter Jim White. 

"Of course when you’re deciding as a football player what your next move is, there are a lot of things that come into consideration, not least what was the role going to be at Liverpool? Was he going to be playing regularly or not at Liverpool? How long left on the contract? Maybe Liverpool getting a fee like they have for a player of his age is also good business in the long term for them.

"It’s not for me to judge any individual, whether they’re in football or any other industry. I don’t think he’s changing his view on what he believes in, so now we’re in a really complex world where what are we saying - nobody should go to Newcastle (United, who are owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund)? Or nobody should go for one of the many companies that the Saudis own in London? We shouldn’t buy oil from the Saudis? I think it’s very complicated.

"I completely understand the argument of, ‘you’ve supported the LGBT community’, and I can understand why they would have a really strong view on it."

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