Jake Daniels, the only openly gay active male professional footballer in English football, has called Jordan Henderson’s move to the Saudi Pro League a ‘slap in the face’ for the LGBTQ+ community.
Henderson has been heavily criticised for his decision to sign for Saudi side Al-Ettifaq last summer, having moved to the Middle East in a £12m deal.
The 32-year-old had been an active ally of the LGBTQ+ community, but has faced backlash for his decision to move to a country where same-sex relationships are illegal.
Blackpool’s Daniels, who became the first active professional footballer to come out in the UK in 32 years last year, has criticised Henderson for the move, having previously received support from the England international.
Henderson insisted the transfer was ‘not motivated by money’ in September, but Daniels was not convinced by that declaration from the former Liverpool captain.
“He was backing me and said: ‘We’re proud of what you’ve done. Seeing him move to Saudi, it kind of like, slaps me in my face really,” The 18-year-old told the BBC.
“But I guess the money pays well, and money must mean more to people.”
Daniels discussed his decision to come out publicly and called it ‘the best thing’ he has ever done.
It has been crazy since coming out,” Daniels said. “I didn’t think it would blow up as much as it did. The reception I’ve had, the people I’ve met, it’s been a crazy experience.
“Coming out was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m playing better now.”