Premier League • England

Henderson sensationally admits Liverpool exit was ‘mistake’ as Ajax man opens up on Saudi nightmare

Jordan Henderson, Al Ettifaq

Jordan Henderson has admitted he "made a mistake" moving to Al Ettifaq

Former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has admitted his departure from the club to join the Saudi Pro League was a “mistake.”

Henderson racked up 492 Reds appearances during the span of his 12 years at the club. The spell saw him lift the Premier League trophy, as well as the Champions League, Club World Cup, two League Cups and an FA Cup.

His illustrious spell at Anfield came to an end last summer, when he decided to move to Saudi Arabian side Al Ettifaq.

He was tempted into the move partially due to the fact former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard was the manager.

But his stay in Saudi was neither long nor particularly worthwhile. He made just 17 league appearances before he became so disillusioned that he decided to leave for Ajax in the January window.

Not only was his spell a short one in which he failed to have much of an impact, but it was reported he deferred his wages so is yet to be paid by Al Ettifaq and there’s a chance he never is.

There certainly do not seem to have been many positives to his stay in Saudi Arabia.

Now the dust has settled and he’s settled in at Ajax, he’s revealed it was a mistake to leave Liverpool for the project.

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Henderson ‘made a mistake’ going to Saudi

“I now realise that football runs through my blood. The Saudi league is developing but it doesn’t suit me, I made a mistake going there. I am happy here at the Ajax project,” he told Parool.

While he suggests he’s happy in the Netherlands, he’d surely make the choice to stay at Liverpool if he had the chance to do things again.

In any case, his international prospects have not been impacted by his two moves outside of England.

Indeed, Henderson features in Gareth Southgate’s latest Three Lions squad, while some underperforming midfielders such as Kalvin Phillips have not been included.

‘Only mistakes if you don’t learn’

Henderson then backtracked somewhat by stating it was not so much of a mistake as he learned from the experience, which he suggests was a worthwhile one.

“Looking back at the time, it was a big decision and one I felt was right for me. Things change quickly in football and I’m happy to make this decision [to come to Ajax] and I felt this opportunity was too big to turn down for me.

“In life, if you want to call them regrets or mistakes you can, but they’re only mistakes if you don’t learn from them and I learnt a lot of things about Saudi.

“I haven’t got a bad word to say about anyone. I have friends over there I’ll speak to forever and there were still positives to come out of it. In the end it didn’t turn out way we both wanted to, but it ended on great terms.”

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