Gareth Southgate jets out to Amsterdam to watch Jordan Henderson on Ajax debut despite not once visiting Middle East during former Liverpool captain's controversial Al-Ettifaq stint - sportupdate
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Gareth Southgate jets out to Amsterdam to watch Jordan Henderson on Ajax debut despite not once visiting Middle East during former Liverpool captain’s controversial Al-Ettifaq stint



Gareth Southgate, the manager of England, observed Jordan Henderson make his Ajax

debut. Prior to selecting his 23-man squad for Euro 2024, Southgate must make a decision.

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Throughout the six-month tenure of Jordan Henderson in Saudi Arabia, Gareth Southgate never made the effort to travel to the Middle East to observe him.He might have accomplished this later in the season if Henderson had continued to play for Al Ettifaq.


“As time passes, we will visit Hendo and see more Milans, Madrids, and Bayern Munichs,” the England manager predicted in October.Although Henderson forced his way out of the Middle East, that opportunity never materialized. However, it was indicative of Southgate’s immediate presence for Ajax’s debut against the unbeaten Eredivisie leaders in PSV on a day with five Premier League games, as Henderson admitted to Mail Sport that he was unaware.


It’s wonderful to hear that he attended. “He chose a captivating and high-intensity game to observe,” raved Henderson.The Eredivisie is not the Premier League, but PSV competed at the level of the Champions League. Compared to the seventeen games he appeared in the Saudi Pro League, it was unquestionably a step up in intensity.


It was evident from Henderson’s speech that he was in a haste to proceed.


“From the moment my family and I arrived, we immediately felt at home here, which helps when you’re happy on the field,” he said. He then admitted how much he missed playing in front of large crowds, as some of those games in Saudi Arabia were attended by fewer than a thousand people.


It truly felt phenomenal. “Actually, I was a little bit anxious and excited to get out there and play,” Henderson continued.


The 33-year-old delivered the type of performance that was so commonplace in a Liverpool jersey for 95 minutes in front of a packed house: he was vocal, brimming with energy, and consistently on the ball in a defensive capacity. The 64-year-old Henderson accumulated fewer touches than any of the two Ajax center-backs.It was a routine victory, but it was assured and a welcome reminder for Southgate, who has selected Henderson in each of his tournament squads thus far. However, between now and the Euros, Henderson will hardly face much more difficult competition in the Dutch division.Henderson turns 34 the day after England’s summer campaign against Serbia begins in Gelsenkirchen. While it will undoubtedly be contentious, assuming he makes the 23-man squad, selecting the Henderson of Ajax over the Henderson of Al Ettifaq will be the more straightforward choice for the England manager, despite the fact that it will prove divisive.