Jordan Henderson has expressed his commitment to representing England for as long as possible and acknowledges that he must accept criticism, even when fans booed him during Friday’s 1-0 friendly victory over Australia at Wembley.
The former Liverpool midfielder lasted until the 61st minute when he was replaced by Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips.
Last summer, Henderson joined former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard at El-Ettiqaf in Saudi Arabia for £12 million.
The 33-year-old was jeered at by his own fans in the match because of his move to Saudi Arabia, where LGTBQ+ is staunchly prohibited. Henderson himself was a supporter of the community during his time at Anfield, where he was the team’s captain.
Reacting to the fan’s behaviour, Henderson, who now has 79 international caps for England, said he was hurt but will continue to play for the nation.
“It’s not nice, your own fans [booing]. I love playing for England,” he said.
“I still want to play for England for as long as I possibly can and give everything for the team, for my country.
“Not really. I don’t know… If people want to boo if I’m playing in a different country, that’s fine. Everyone is going to have an opinion over [it] when I’m playing over in Saudi.
“I’ve spoken in the past about the reasons for that. Whether people believe us or not is up to them.
“Of course it’s disappointing, but it won’t change what I do here. I want to keep playing and keep fighting, and help the team become successful.
“I haven’t been surprised by that because I can understand the reasons in what they’re saying. I look at it from a different point of view, obviously.
“But I can understand it, and I’ve got to take that on the chin.”
England will host Italy next at Wembley on Tuesday for their 2024 Euro Qualifiers.
Facing the press ahead of the clash, England’s head coach, Gareth Southgate, said he is delighted to have Henderson in the team.
“I really don’t understand it. He’s a player; with 79 caps for England, his commitment and what he’s delivered for England is exceptional.
“His role on and off the pitch is phenomenally important. He’s taken the likes of Bellingham under his wing. He’s a role model for the group in every part of his work.
“Some people decided to boo. I really don’t understand what that’s for. We play Italy here on Tuesday; come on, let’s get behind this team. I know we weren’t at our best tonight, but we made a lot of changes.
“This is a team that are delivering a lot and they all deserve every bit of support.”