Jordan Henderson says he “can understand” why England fans booed him during Friday’s friendly against Australia.
Henderson was named captain by Gareth Southgate in a much-changed starting lineup as the Three Lions defeated the Socceroos 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
The main talking point following the game, though, was Henderson being booed by national team fans as a result of his transfer to the Saudi Pro League.
The 33-year-old had previously stated his support for the LGBTQ+ community while at Liverpool, but he chose to join Al Ettifaq in the summer in order to play in a country where same-sex relationships are prohibited.
Henderson suffered harsh criticism at the time of his transfer, but he has since officially endorsed Saudi Arabia’s quest to host the World Cup in 2034.
Southgate has said that supporters’ decision to boo Henderson ‘defied logic,’ stressing that he cannot comprehend why the 79-cap international is being treated so harshly.
While Henderson has stated that he does not agree with the reaction he has gotten, he has also stated that he understands why people are angry at him.
Henderson told BBC Sport, “If people want to boo me because I’m playing in another country, that’s fine.” Everyone will have an opinion about it when I play in Saudi Arabia.
“I’ve previously discussed the reasons for this. It is up to them whether or not they believe us.
Of course, it’s discouraging, but it won’t affect what I do here. I want to keep playing, keep fighting, and help the team succeed.
“I’m not surprised because I understand the reasoning behind what they’re saying.” I see things from a different perspective, certainly, but I understand it, and I have to accept that.”
Henderson will be hoping to participate in England’s next Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy on Tuesday evening at Wembley.
Henderson has made a mark since joining Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq, contributing four assists in eight outings.
In the Saudi Pro League rankings, Al Ettifaq, who finished seventh in 2022-23, are only six points behind leaders Al-Hilal.