Gareth Southgate Stands by Henderson Amid Fan Criticism
|Jordan Henderson of England and Jack Grealish of England celebrate during the international friendly match between England and Australia at Wembley Stadium on October 13, 2023 in London, England.(Image-Getty)
England Manager Southgate Backs Henderson Amidst Fan Booing
Prior to the Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy at Wembley Stadium, England's manager Gareth Southgate reiterated his support for midfielder Jordan Henderson, urging fans to halt the booing. Henderson's transfer to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq from Liverpool drew criticism due to the country's stringent stance on homosexuality, conflicting with Henderson's prior public support for the LGBT community.
In the recent friendly match against Australia, Henderson faced hostility from the stands, prompting Southgate to address the issue. While acknowledging potential disagreements with Henderson's decisions, Southgate emphasized the importance of unity and support for the team. He affirmed his commitment to selecting players based on their capabilities, rather than succumbing to a mere popularity contest.
Kyle Walker, an England fullback and long-time acquaintance of Henderson, voiced his support for the midfielder and his choices. With England leading Group C with 13 points from five matches, the upcoming fixture against Italy holds substantial significance. Having previously suffered defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final, the English team aims to build on past experiences, seeking to secure a place in the upcoming Euro 2024 finals in Germany. Amidst the build-up, Southgate emphasized the team's strong position and the desire to secure a convincing victory, without resorting to desperate tactics even in the closing minutes of the game.