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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jordan Henderson apologizes to LGBTQ+ group for his short-lived Saudi transfer as he arrives at Ajax

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AMSTERDAM — Jordan Henderson apologized Friday to the LGBTQ+ group that fiercely criticized his switch from Liverpool to Al-Ettifaq, a day after turning his again on his profitable contract in Saudi Arabia.

“If any individuals from that group really feel let down or harm, I apologize, as I did six months in the past,” he informed reporters on the Johan Cruyff Area as he was launched as Ajax’s new midfielder. “That was by no means my intention.”

Henderson’s determination to play in Saudi sparked a backlash from the LGBTQ+ group in England, the place he had demonstrated assist for inclusivity by carrying rainbow-colored laces as a part of an initiative by LGBTQ+ marketing campaign group Stonewall. Shortly after his transfer, he was booed by England followers at Wembley when he was substituted throughout a pleasant match in opposition to Australia.

He now performs for a membership based mostly in Amsterdam, a metropolis lengthy often known as a bastion of tolerance for the LGBTQ+ group.

Requested if he regretted transferring to the Saudi league, Henderson was evasive.

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“In life, you understand, you may, if you wish to, name them regrets or errors. You possibly can name them that,” Henderson informed reporters in Amsterdam.

“However on the identical time, you understand, they’re solely errors in the event you don’t be taught from them,” he added.

The 33-year-old Henderson is the highest-profile recruit to give up the Saudi league. He was amongst a slew of prime gamers, led by Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, who moved to the dominion on big-money offers.

Requested if he would advise former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah in opposition to following of their footsteps, he stated: “Positively not.”

Egypt striker Salah has repeatedly been linked with a attainable transfer to Saudi Arabia.

Henderson was talking at his first press convention since terminating his contract with Al-Ettifaq and signing a two and a half year-contract with four-time European champion Ajax.

A day earlier, the Saudi league’s interim CEO, Saad Allazeez, sought to minimize Henderson’s departure.

“That is all simply a part of , all the world over and life, throughout all careers. Generally regardless of greatest efforts individuals don’t all the time regulate or settle and that may affect performances and result in frustrations for all,” he stated.

There are two issues Henderson will not get in Amsterdam — the captain’s armband and a shirt with 14 on the again, the quantity he wore for Liverpool. The 14 shirt was worn by Ajax legend Johan Cruyff and was retired when his enjoying days ended.

Henderson, who was performed 81 occasions for England, can also be hoping {that a} return to European soccer means his identify shall be within the combine when coach Gareth Southgate builds a squad for this summer season’s European Championship in Germany.

“It’s a giant, huge factor enjoying for my nation, as everyone is aware of and … that’s all the time been the case wherever I’ve performed,” he stated.

The attract for Ajax is apparent. The younger crew has had a tumultuous yr, slipping to the foot of the Eredivisie after its’ worst ever begin to the season. When former participant John van ‘t Schip took over from Maurice Steijn, he ushered in a change of fortunes that noticed the crew rise to fifth within the league.

However any hopes of including to the membership’s Dutch report 36 league titles this yr look like lengthy gone, even with Henderson beefing up the midfield. Runaway chief PSV Eindhoven is 23 factors away from fifth-placed Ajax and holds an ideal report of 17 wins in 17 Eredivisie matches this season.

The transfer to Amsterdam will imply a giant pay reduce for Henderson. Salaries at Ajax are decrease than in different main European leagues, although the crew has raised wages lately in a bid to remain aggressive with big-spending golf equipment elsewhere in Europe.

He denied that transferring to Ajax was partly motivated by a want to keep away from a big tax invoice in England.

“It had nothing to do with anything apart from a determination,” he stated.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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