Jordan Henderson has broken his silence for the first time since his surprising transfer to Saudi Arabia.
In a shocking move during the summer transfer window, Henderson opted to depart Liverpool and join the Saudi Professional League outfit, Al Ettifaq.
Since the announcement of his move, Henderson has faced criticism from the LGBTQ+ community. In response, Henderson has explained his decision, asserting that he views his move to Saudi Arabia as a positive step.
He toldThe Athletic: “There can be a lot of criticism, a lot of negativity around me as a person. And that was difficult to take.
“But I just feel as though, because I do care about different causes that I’ve been involved in, and different communities… I do care. And for people to criticise and say that I’d turned my back on them really, really hurt me.
“And obviously the LGBTQ+ community. I can understand the frustration. I can understand the anger. I get it. All I can say around that is that I’m sorry that they feel like that. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone.”
Henderson added: “My intention has always been to help causes and communities where I felt like they have asked for my help.
“Now, when I was making the decision, the way that I tried to look at it was I felt as though, by myself not going, we can all bury our heads in the sand and criticise different cultures and different countries from afar. But then nothing’s going to happen. Nothing’s going to change.
“I think people know what my views and values were before I left and still do now. And I think having someone with those views and values in Saudi Arabia is only a positive thing.”
When asked whether he would wear rainbow laces in the future, Henderson said: “I wouldn’t rule that out. But at the same time, what I wouldn’t do is disrespect the religion and culture in Saudi Arabia.
“We’ll have to respect everyone. And by doing something like that, if that did disrespect the religion, then no, I’m not going to do that.”