Gareth Southgate says it “defies logic” that England fans would boo Jordan Henderson.
The former Liverpool midfielder was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd when was substituted off in the second half of the Three Lions’ 1-0 win over Australia on Friday night. Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of the game, for which Henderson was named captain with Harry Kane on the bench.
The 33-year-old received criticism after he swapped Anfield for Saudi Arabia, joining Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq for £12 million in the summer.
“I really don’t understand it,” the England boss said after the game. “He’s a player, 79 caps for England, his commitment and what he’s delivered for England is exceptional.
“His role on and off the pitch is phenomenally important. He’s taken the likes of [Jude] Bellingham under his wing. He’s a role model for the group in every part of his work.
“I’m hugely impressed with the impeccable values and decisions that everybody in our country is making then.
“Yeah, clearly, I don’t understand it. I know what’s created it and I know why it has happened, but it defies logic to me that you would give a player who is playing and putting his heart and soul into playing for England… why boo him?
“How is that going to help him or help the team?”
Henderson was accused of hypocrisy following his move to the Saudi Pro League, having been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and can result in capital punishment.
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