Jamie Carragher speaks out on Jordan Henderson's controversial move to Saudi Arabia

Will Castle
10 months ago

Jamie Carragher has called the backlash over Jordan Henderson's transfer to Al-Ettifaq 'justified', while claiming that he himself would not take a job in Saudi Arabia.

Completing his switch to the Saudi side on Thursday, Henderson has come under fire for his decision to up sticks to the Middle East – in particular from LGBTQ+ groups, of whom the former Liverpool captain was considered a vocal ally.

In transferring to a country where homosexuality is illegal, and in some cases punishable by death, Henderson has left himself open to accusations of hypocrisy, while some — including Thomas Hitzlsperger — have questioned whether the 33-year-old's activism was ever genuine.

READ MORE: Al-Ettifaq use greyed-out rainbow armbands in Jordan Henderson announcement video

In his latest column for the Telegraph, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has given his take on the situation, insisting that if he was presented a similar offer to Henderson's, his response would be of staunch rejection for 'pure footballing' reasons.

"Since Steven Gerrard moved to the Saudi Pro League and offered Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson the chance to follow him, I have been asked so many questions about their decision you would think I was joining them," Carragher wrote.

"I am not their spokesperson. I speak for myself, not those I respect. But as I consider the pros and cons of their career choice I am prepared to say this: if I was offered four times my salary to leave Sky Sports and CBS in order to cover the Saudi Pro League, my answer would be no.

"Why? Because I love watching and analysing the best football in the world, which at the moment is the Premier League and Champions League. That is a pure footballing consideration."

On the criticism Henderson has faced over a perceived abandoning of his advocacy, Carragher added: "Henderson has a big problem to deal with because of his previous remarks in support of the LGBTQ+ community. I fully understand that criticism and it is justified.

"Jordan was heralded on the back of his speaking out so he has difficult questions to answer, and the critical reaction towards him will have a negative impact moving forward for those communities who cherish support from high profile figures."

Carragher also highlighted the detriment Henderson's move could have to future human rights activism within football, perhaps persuading players to keep their mouths shut instead of speaking out on important issues.

"When other footballers hear the criticism directed at him, they will not say ‘I can’t go to Saudi’," Carragher wrote. "They will be told by their advisors to keep their mouth shut in case they move there in future, thus avoiding accusations of hypocrisy."

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