The former Liverpool manager has come out in the defense of the Liverpool club captain Jordan Henderson, who has recently completed a shocking transfer move to Saudi Club Al-Ettifaq.
This move to the Middle East has come under scrutiny by a lot of his fans, with the main reason being the nation’s stance on sensitive issues like homosexuality and concerns regarding human rights and the treatment of women.
A footballer who once wore rainbow-colored armbands and laces during matches in his support of the LGBTQ+ community faces backlash from supporters for being double-faced and contradicting his opinion on the issue.
Rodgers’ Defense of Henderson
A decade ago, Rodgers managed Henderson during his spell at Liverpool, and now has made a statement in his support demanding that the public should not be so judgemental towards the midfielder just for his career choices.
“It’s their profession, it’s their life so they have to do what’s best for them,” the Celtic boss told talkSPORT in his latest interview.
Henderson stressed in an interview that his move away from Liverpool was not only based on the financial increments and that it was never his intention to hurt anyone.
The LGBTQ+ community saw through him indicating that his interview was only an act to build back his brand image and outrightly dismissed his comments labeling him as a ‘sellout’.
In this controversy, Rodgers has sided with his former player mentioning that players have a right to do what they feel is the correct decision for them and their families and should not conform to anyone’s expectations.
He vehemently expressed his opinion towards Henderson stating: “There’s so many morality officers around the world nowadays that are judging people.”
The former Leicester manager recognized Henderon’s undying love for Liverpool and talked about the factors involved in his move did not only revolve around the Saudi club quadrupling his previous wages.
Henderson has accomplished a lot during his time at Liverpool and his wanting to try a new challenge abroad, a new experience is an important reason he chose to leave the English club.
Rodgers talked about how Henderson would never have considered joining another team in the same league and betraying his club, and with him being 33 years old, his minutes looked uncertain and was not involved in Klopp’s plans. So a move to another league was always on the cards for him.
He said: “He was at the stage of his career where he probably wasn’t going to be the first name on the team sheet anymore.
“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.”
The Celtic manager himself is pretty familiar with what it is like to lose a player to the lucrative offers enticing players to the Saudi league, as he bid farewell to his team’s talented winger Jota to Al-Ittihad for an undisclosed fee.
While accepting the fact that clubs not being able to hold on to their players due to not being able to match the substantial financial packages offered by the clubs in Saudi, he argues that money alone has not swayed the sportsmen, but the footballing project of the Saudis is an imperative influence to attract the best players in the world.
Rodgers 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.”
This determination of the Saudi clubs to make their country compete against the best footballing leagues in the world and an exciting project enticing players to play alongside their idols and game legends Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Neymar, etc. makes the Saudi Pro League an alluring destination for all footballers.