With Jordan Henderson explaining his decision to leave Liverpool for Saudi Arabia, the response to his interview won’t have been what he hoped.
In a lengthy interview with The Athletic‘s Adam Crafton and David Ornstein this week, Henderson answered a series of questions on his move to Al Ettifaq.
Namely these included his motivation to leave Liverpool, whether he chose Saudi Arabia for the money offered and the reaction from LGBTQ+ and wider groups.
The former captain claimed he was not made to feel wanted in talks with Jurgen Klopp, insisted his contract in the Middle East was not the deciding factor and that he has retained his moral stance.
“All I can say around that is that I’m sorry that they feel like that,” he said at one point, on the response from LGBTQ+ groups.
Unsurprisingly, the reaction on social media has been hugely critical.
The general response was telling….
I don't think that Henderson interview could've been any worse.
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) September 5, 2023
If Jordan Henderson thinks he was going to enhance his PR with that interview, he was sorely mistaken. Strong, powerful, evocative journalism from @AdamCrafton_.
— Kristian Walsh (@Kristian_Walsh) September 5, 2023
Great interview by the lads
Henderson's responses beyond belief
Amount to: it's good that someone with his beliefs plays there but he can't change anything
They were shown things in Qatar were bad but then the experience we had was differenthttps://t.co/d23SqPCij4
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) September 5, 2023
So much respect to @AdamCrafton_ for taking Jordan Henderson to task over his move to Saudi Arabia.
The replies he received, on money, LGBTQ+ concerns and even his experiences in Qatar at the World Cup – less convincing.
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) September 5, 2023
Got to wonder why he even bothered to do this – I don’t think it could have gone much worse really. https://t.co/lLx3lVvxrH
— Joe Brewin (@Joe_Brewin_) September 5, 2023
This is such a good interview. It is painful to read because his answers aren't very good. Jordan Henderson has sold out his morals for money, it is as simple as that. https://t.co/QT2hGHllhe
— Joey D'Urso (@josephmdurso) September 5, 2023
Nice of Jordan Henderson to blame everyone but himself for his Liverpool departure.
Hasn't come off great in that interview at all.
— – (@JoshLFC1909) September 5, 2023
Jordan Henderson's PR manager checking how the interview went pic.twitter.com/Dh7j0gU536
— Beav ????????? (@__Beav) September 5, 2023
Not really sure why Henderson has done this interview from his own PR perspective. Wishy washy nonsense on his part. Either own it and admit the money was too good to turn down or just stay quiet, surely? https://t.co/YGXgHFf4Oy
— Tim Stillman (@Stillmanator) September 5, 2023
If Jordan Henderson just openly said "Yeah I've gone to Saudi for the money"
I'd have respected him more than the nonsense in that Athletic article.
— Odds On FPL (@OddsOnFPL) September 5, 2023
Disappointed with Jordan Henderson’s interview, but glad our club has moved on since his departure.
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) September 5, 2023
His claims he wasn’t wanted didn’t wash…
Klopp personally intervened to get a 31-year-old Henderson a new four-year contract that took him to age 35.
Two years later, Henderson says he left because of Klopp not guaranteeing him more playing time and that he didn't feel wanted.
— Matt Ladson (@mattladson) September 5, 2023
We literally gave Jordan Henderson a new contract when most other clubs probably wouldn’t have. Klopp stated publicly a lot on how important he is & that he wanted him to stay. For him to say this stuff is a real kick in the teeth to the club & people that made his career.
— Ben (@SMXLFC) September 5, 2023
Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool wanted Henderson to stay but couldn't block Al-Ettifaq transfer – https://t.co/vyChLnIwQd
Henderson falsely claiming that nobody wanted him to stay at Liverpool is not a good look. At all. https://t.co/n480SLnNmW
— Mo Chatra (@MoChatra) September 5, 2023
From a purely football POV, it looks as though it comes down to more of a difference in opinion roles.
It felt natural to me at least that JH would see a reduction in minutes and perhaps switch to the 'Milner role' but clearly, he felt he wanted more than that, which is also… https://t.co/dQy4bBAvBo
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) September 5, 2023
Somebody is lying here. Henderson is making Klopp out to be the liar, the fella who pushed the 4yr contract. Personally think this is a face saving exercise from Henderson. To me he's been told he's going to play less (rightly) and he's not taken it well. #LFC https://t.co/KowgAXAB7U
— Ty Kropp (@tizlad) September 5, 2023
Disappointing to hear Jordan Henderson use the excuse that he didn’t feel wanted at Liverpool. Absolute nonsense, of course it is motivated by money, own it. 700k a week Jordan, people won’t buy that nonsense #JordanHenderson https://t.co/Wdl2uQUy7c
— Colin Murphy (@heskey92) September 5, 2023
And attempts to tackle wider issues were ridiculed…
No acceptance by Henderson of his role in sportswashing, trying to disguise the disgusting Saudi human rights record. This sounds more like an attempt to rebuild his "brand", sorry isn't good enough @JHenderson, actions speak louder than words. https://t.co/JGOI5fY55f
— Kop Outs! ??????????? (@LFC_LGBT) September 5, 2023
Jordan Henderson can't have it both ways. You can't wash your hands of social responsibility after being the self-appointed voice of change for so long nor shift the goal posts when it suits. Naive in the extreme. pic.twitter.com/1V3P5hJ79L
— Keifer MacDonald (@KeiferMacD) September 5, 2023
Jordan Henderson has not come out of that interview well. Arguably it sounds worse. Wilfully naive, like Westwood and McDowell with Liv. I mean, come on mate. pic.twitter.com/DKJhelQKjV
— Jay C0yle ????? (@JPierreCoyle) September 5, 2023
— And Could He Play (@andcouldheplay7) September 5, 2023
Reading through this and the main takeaway is how stunningly naive Henderson is.
'We heard Qatar was bad but then we went and met workers and they all said it was fine and it looked nice.'
Come on now. https://t.co/bzqRtxVk3N
— Lewis (@LGAmbrose) September 5, 2023
Who had being gaslit by Jordan Henderson on their Tuesday morning bingo card? pic.twitter.com/OEXyDODq3V
— Josh Sexton (@jsexton24) September 5, 2023
So what Jordan Henderson is effectively saying is that; "I can take a stand for the LGBTQ+ community in Saudi Arabia if it's safe for me to do so and if my employers approve."
— Dougie Critchley (@DougieCritchley) September 5, 2023
Henderson interview is just a powerful example of how people can convince themselves of a hell of a lot of they want to.
— Mike L. Goodman (@TheM_L_G) September 5, 2023
Put simply, it has emerged as a PR car crash for Henderson, whose openness with Crafton and Ornstein should be commended but answers, in general, condemned.
Little in his explanation over leaving Liverpool and heading, as an LGBTQ+ advocate, to Saudi Arabia – where, it cannot be emphasised enough, homosexuality is illegal – stands up.
Truly, he would have been better off leaving his head in the sand.