Gareth Southgate has weighed in on Jordan Henderson’s decision to move to the Saudi Pro League but has refused to condemn the 33-year-old.
The former Liverpool captain has been on the receiving end of huge criticism since joining Al Ettifaq due to the fact that despite him showing strong support for the LGBTQ community in recent years he’s now going to be plying his trade in a country where homosexuality is a criminal offence.
The England boss, however, would rather not ‘judge’ the ex-Sunderland man and insists it’s a ‘very complicated’ situation.
“It’s not for me to judge any individual whether they’re in football or in any other industry,” Southgate told talkSPORT.
“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? Should nobody work for companies that the Saudis own in London or should nobody buy oil from the Saudis?
“I think it’s very complicated, I completely understand the argument of, you know, you’ve supported the LGBTQ community and I can understand why they would have a really strong view on it.
“I think it’s so difficult to say, you know, is Henderson saying he doesn’t support that community anymore? Well no, he isn’t, but of course people are going to say his actions are the reverse of that.”
Just because Henderson has moved to the Middle East it doesn’t mean that all the brilliant support he offered to the LGBTQ community should be forgotten about.
He’s been provided with the opportunity to go and earn £700,000 per week and play regular football – a rather hard offer to turn down.
He’d won every major trophy possible as Liverpool captain and his game time was going to be limited under Jurgen Klopp this term following the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai and with more signings expected.
Southgate was never going to give his full opinion on the matter but we wish our former skipper all the best for the future.