Jordan Henderson hits back at criticism of Saudi Arabia’s move, according to Steven Gerrard, at the latest

England midfielder Jordan Henderson has apologized for upsetting the LGBTQ community with his move to Saudi Arabia but said it was a “positive thing” to play in the Gulf state.

The former Liverpool captain, a vocal supporter of gay rights, was heavily criticized for his move to the Saudi Pro League in July.

Henderson said in an interview with The Athletic he could understand the frustration and anger directed at him.

“There can be a lot of criticism and a lot of negativity around me as a person and that was hard to take,” he said.

“But I just feel like I care about the different causes I’ve been involved with and the different communities. And to have people criticize me and say I turned my back on them really hurt me a lot.”

The Al-Ettifaq player added: “All I can say is that I apologize. I’m sorry I made you feel that way. But I haven’t changed as a person.”

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Henderson said he wouldn’t rule out wearing rainbow laces to show his support for LGBTQ people, but added that he “won’t disregard religion and culture in Saudi Arabia.”

And he argued his move to the Gulf state, where he was reunited with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard, who is Al-Ettifaq manager, was “positive”.

“People knew my beliefs and values ​​before I left and they still know that today,” he said. “And I think having someone in Saudi Arabia with those views and values ​​is only a positive thing.” The 33-year-old, who was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the forthcoming internationals last week, denied that Money was the incentive for his move.

He said the staggering £700,000 ($879,000) a week wage figure quoted in the press was inflated.

“That was the hardest part,” he said. “People will see that this club comes with a lot of money and they just say, ‘Yes, I’m leaving’.”

“Although in reality that wasn’t the case at all. People may or may not believe me, but money has never been a motivation in my life and career. Always.”

Henderson in his new colors.
Henderson in his new colors.Source: Getty Images

Henderson said he hadn’t felt “wanted” by Liverpool, who had overhauled their midfield, and was drawn to a new challenge.

“Stevie never talked about money,” he said.

“All I spoke to Stevie about was football and the project. And he actually said he didn’t want to get involved in such money matters.

“It was about what we can do together to achieve something special and build a club and the league.” Jordan Henderson hits back at criticism of Saudi Arabia’s move, according to Steven Gerrard, at the latest

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