Steven Gerrard “was disappointed” by Jordan Henderson’s Saudi Arabia decision

Steven Gerrard has insisted he has “ultimate respect” for Jordan Henderson but “was disappointed” by his most recent career move.

It has now been nearly a year since Gerrard made his controversial move to Saudi Arabia to become manager of Al-Ettifaq. Someone who hasn’t lasted as long, though, is Henderson.

After joining Gerrard’s side last summer, the midfielder stayed for just six months before moving to Ajax in January.

Speaking about his fellow former-Liverpool captain’s exit from Al-Ettifaq, Gerrard admitted to the Telegraph that he “was dissapointed” but respected his decision.

Jordan Henderson (left) and Ajax coach John van‘t Schip pictured during a press conference in Amsterdam (Peter Dejong/AP)

“I respected his decision because I love him as a guy, I love him as a player and I have nothing but ultimate respect for him,” said the manager.

“I was disappointed. Any manager who loses his captain during the season is not ideal and I told Jordan that. But if someone is not settled. If someone has some family things that are affecting him.

“If someone has got different outside goals or opportunities, like England for example, then I have to respect that and understand it. And I do. But was I disappointed? Of course I was.”

Gerrard revealed that he had tried to convince Henderson to stay but didn’t push him too hard.

The ex-Liverpool No. 8 continued: “He’s a big boy and I didn’t want to be someone – for example, if I had convinced him to stay and he felt further down [the line] that it was the wrong decision then I didn’t want to be that person who was told ‘why did you convince me to stay?’.

“It had to be Jordan’s decision. He needed his own time. He needed to go through his own processes. The advice I gave to Jordan was ‘do what’s right for your family’.”

It is clear Henderson didn’t particularly enjoy his time in Saudi Arabia but, once at Ajax, he said his move to Holland was “very much a football decision.”

He also apologised to the LGBTQ+ community for moving to Saudi, saying: “If any people from that community feel let down or hurt I apologise.

“If anyone was offended or feel as though I upset them, that’s on me, that was my decision and I apologise for that. It was never my intention.

“I just want to look forward now and concentrate on being the best player I can for Ajax. My beliefs have never changed and never will. Again I can only apologise if people feel let down.”

Since moving to Ajax, he did help lift them from a relegation battle to ultimately finish fifth. However, his performances weren’t enough to earn him a place in the England squad for Euro 2024.

Meanwhile, Gerrard remains at Al-Ettifaq and will be joined by the departing Liverpool goalkeeping coach, John Achterberg.