Friday, September 29, 2023

Brendan Rodgers defends Jordan Henderson’s against ‘morality officers’ over controversial Saudi switch

Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence of Jordan Henderson for deciding to join Saudi Arabian side Al Ettifaq.

Henderson was subject of criticism earlier this week after claiming his move from Liverpool to the Middle East was not financially motivated.

Henderson says money was the key reason behind his move to Saudi Arabiagetty

The former Liverpool skipper has already come under fire for his choice of destination despite being a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Homosexuality is criminalised in Saudi Arabia and punishable by the death penalty.

Rodgers, who managed Henderson during his time at Anfield, slammed those casting judgement and said players can do what they like with their careers.

“It’s their profession, it’s their life so they have to do what’s best for them,” the Celtic boss exclusively told talkSPORT.

“There’s so many morality officers around the world nowadays that are judging people.

“But Jordan I know extremely well and I know the love he had for Liverpool. He was at the stage of his career where he probably wasn’t going to be the first name on the team sheet anymore. At 32-years of age, he’s won absolutely everything.

“He probably fancied a different challenge and out of respect, it probably didn’t feel right for him being at another Premier League club. So to go abroad and take on a new challenge clearly suited him.”

Rodgers did concede that the king’s ransoms on offer will sway the decision making of players, particularly those in the latter stages of their career.

GettyRodgers worked closely with Henderson during his stint as Liverpool boss[/caption]

“It’s definitely something that makes players wobble because of the money that’s talked about and what it can do for players and the legacy it can create for their families for years down the line,” he added.

“What makes [Saudi Arabia] dangerous is not only the money, they have a plan. The plan is attracting top players and looking to get top managers out there.”

Henderson is just one of a host of big name transfers to Saudi Arabia, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the way followed by Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante among others, while Rodgers also saw 24-year-old forward Jota swap Celtic for Al-Ittihad.

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