Jordan Henderson says Ajax move from Al-Ettifaq a ‘football decision’

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Jordan Henderson says his move to Ajax is a “football decision”, adding “sometimes these things don’t work” of his time in the Saudi Pro League.

Henderson only joined Al-Ettifaq in July but had his contract cancelled so he could join the Dutch giants.

He also reiterated his apology to members of the LGBT+ community upset at his move to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal.

“My beliefs haven’t changed and they never will,” said the midfielder.

“I said six months ago that if I offended anyone or if people feel like I let them down then I apologise for that and I’ll apologise again.

“I haven’t changed as a person, I never have.”

Henderson was a prominent supporter of the LGBTQ+ community during his time at Liverpool so received considerable criticism when he left Anfield for Saudi Arabia in the summer.

He signed a three-year contract, worth a reported £700,000 a week, but left having made just 17 league appearances.

Despite his short stay, the former Sunderland trainee would not criticise the league and said he would not advise players against going.

“I think a lot of people would like me to sit here and criticise the Saudi thing and everything that went with that but that certainly wasn’t the case and not something that I’m doing to do,” he said.

“I’ve got full respect for the league and Al-Ettifaq the club and the people over there. They really made me feel welcome. Unfortunately sometimes these things in life just don’t work out, in football and life in general.

“If you look at big players that are there and loving every second of it and staying there for a long time. You might get players who don’t settle and don’t stay for a long time, or whatever it might be, things can change quickly.

“I would definitely not sit here and speak badly of the league, the clubs or anything like that.”

Henderson denied he turned down a move back to the Premier League because of a tax issue, saying: “Don’t believe what you read in the press. It had nothing to do with anything but football.”

He added that he is ready to make his Ajax debut “as soon as possible” but needs to wait for his work permit to come through.

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