After some fans jeered at the midfielder Jordan Henderson during England’s 1-0 victory over Australia in a friendly match on Friday, England’s manager Gareth Southgate stated it was inappropriate for the fans to do so.
The 33-year-old Henderson, who has been playing for a Saudi Arabian club since earlier this year, was selected captain of England for the match, and he played for 62 minutes before being substituted to the sound of boos from supporters at Wembley Stadium. Henderson had joined a Saudi Arabian team earlier this year.
In July, Henderson signed a contract to play for the Al-Ettifaq team that competes in the Saudi Pro League. The deal is for three years. The move caused a stir in the media because homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, and Henderson has been a staunch advocate for LGBT rights for a long time.
“That is something that I just don’t get. “He’s a player who’s won 79 caps for England, and his commitment and what he’s delivered for England is exceptional,” Southgate told the reporters. “He’s a player who’s won 79 caps for England.”
In terms of his level of professionalism and the way he goes about things, he serves as an outstanding example for the rest of the group. There are some people who have chosen to boo, and I have no idea why they have made that decision. Come on, we have a game against Italy on Tuesday, and all of us should be behind this team.
After it was reported earlier this month that the Saudi Arabian Football Federation would be submitting a proposal to host the 2034 World Cup, Henderson released a video in which he voiced his support for the bid.
When asked if this may have led England fans to voice their disapproval, Southgate responded by saying, “What has that got to do with supporting a guy that is wearing an England shirt?” Southgate was asked if this could have prompted England fans to voice their displeasure.
“I really don’t have a good idea of where we are going with things. The immaculate standards that everyone in our country is upholding and the decisions that they are making right now astound and amaze me.
“I know what’s created it and it’s happened but it defies logic to me that you would give a player – who is putting his heart and soul into playing for England – why you would boo him?”
On Tuesday, England will play Italy in a crucial qualifying match for the Euro 2024 tournament.