WATCH: Jordan Henderson's disastrous Ajax free-kick slammed in Netherlands

Former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson's failed attempt at a free kick routine for Ajax this weekend did not go down well in the Netherlands, with one Dutch pundit claiming making an unfavourable Diego Maradona comparison.

Henderson joined Ajax in the January transfer window, after his contract at Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq was mutually terminated after just six months.

The 33-year-old's signing on a two-and-half-year deal was seen as something of a coup for Ajax who struggled in the first half of the 2023/24 campaign.

The former Reds skipper was given the captain's armband in Amsterdam, while there were reports that his No. 6 shirt had even become the fastest selling in club history.

However, things on the pitch have not always been so smooth.

Ajax sit fifth in the Eredivisie, some eight points off the European qualification spots, while Henderson has been on the winning side just once out of nine games in all competitions since his move.

On Sunday, Ajax needed a late Steven Bergwijn equaliser to earn a point away at mid-table Sparta Rotterdam and while Henderson registered an assist in the match, it was an attempted free-kick routine that drew the most attention.

With the set-piece lined up just centrally around 30 yards from goal, the ex-Liverpool midfielder attempted to play a one-two with a teammate before taking a shot, but was closed down by a defender, with his heavily deflected effort landing safely in the keeper's arms.

The routine did not go down well in the Netherlands, drawing criticism from several pundits who questioned why Henderson was even taking the set-piece.

Former footballer and ESPN pundit Kees Kwakman said: "I really don't get this. I don't know if Henderson scored many direct free kicks, outside of this brilliant variant.

"But [Branco] Van den Boomen should have said: 'Get lost, I've scored from so many free kicks in France and in my career in general.' He should have demanded the ball and said that it's his moment. But Henderson comes up with some weird variant... I never really understand that. As captain, you can show them who's boss, but this is the wrong way to go about it."

It's being pretended that Henderson is Maradona

Meanwhile, former Netherlands international Theo Janssen also called out Henderson's scuppered attempt.

He said on Studio Voetbal (via Voetbal Primeur): “I almost turned off the television. This was a real opportunity and it was the ideal distance. The ball had enough time to drop.

“Van den Boomen is a player with a nice kick.

AMSTERDAM - Jordan Henderson of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on February 3, 2024 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. ANP OLAF KRAAK Dutch Eredivisie 2023/2024 xVIxANPxSportx/xxANPxIVx 490142885 originalFilename: 490142885.jpg

“As a player you grab the ball and say, get out of the way. It just surprises me.

“At Ajax, Henderson is placed everywhere just to put him on the pitch and that’s what it seems like. He takes all the corners and the free-kicks.

“He is just a player who is on the pitch but nothing more than that. It is being pretended that Maradona is on the pitch.”

It's not the first time, Henderson has come in for harsh criticism from pundits in the Netherlands. After last week's draw against Fortuna Sittard, Henderson was asked by an interviewer if he had just put in his 'worst performance' in an awkward exchange.

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