Jordan Henderson has reiterated his apology for offence caused by his move to the Saudi Pro League last summer.
Henderson signed for Al-Ettifaq from Liverpool after an illustrious career with the Reds, though the transfer received significant backlash given the midfielder’s previous support of the LGBTQ+ community and Saudi Arabia’s stance on same-sex relations.
The 33-year-old has decided to leave the Saudi Pro League after six months and this week completed a move to Dutch side Ajax.
At his unveiling, the England international was asked whether he must ‘build bridges’ with those angered by his Saudi move.
“I said six months ago that if I offended anybody or people felt as though I let them down then I apologise for that, and I apologise again,” Henderson said.
“As I said before, my beliefs have never changed and never will. I can apologise if people feel let down. I haven’t changed as a person and never have. I want to continue to focus on my football and give everything I can for this great football club.
“In life, if you want to call them regrets or mistakes you can call them that. At the same time they are only mistakes if you don’t learn from them. I learned a lot of things in Saudi. There were a lot of different experiences. I haven’t got a bad word to say about anybody over there in the the league, in the club, the people. They tried to make me feel as comfortable possible, and my family
“I have friends over there that I’ll speak to forever. So there’s still positives to come out of it. In the end it didn’t turn out the way we both wanted it to but we ended on great terms. We shake hands and move forward.”
Henderson opened up on his decision to sign for Ajax and said he is looking forward to representing ‘the biggest club in Holland’. Ajax have endured a disappointing campaign to date, but have improved to climb to fifth in the Eredivisie.
“It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. The biggest club in Holland. I felt as though it was a great opportunity for me personally to come to a huge club and try to help this club go forward and be as successful as possible.”
“I feel there has been games where they maybe have not done so well, especially at the start of the season but I feel as though things have changed and they have bounced back a little bit to get back up the league,” Henderson added on Ajax’s struggles this season.
“There’s a lot of young talented players I can see. I feel part of my role is to help the team with my experience and guide these players to make the step. Of course I need to do my job on the pitch and perform to the levels I am capable of.”