Steven Gerrard sheds new light on Jordan Henderson's Saudi Arabia nightmare after Liverpool exit

Jordan Henderson left Liverpool to join Al-Ettifaq last summer
-Credit: (Image: Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has explained how he tried to convince Jordan Henderson to remain in Saudi Arabia.

Gerrard is currently the manager of Al-Ettifaq, having joined the Saudi Pro League club last summer. The former Reds captain made the decision to bring Henderson to Saudi Arabia last year, with the midfielder leaving Liverpool in a £12 million deal.

However, the England international would make just 19 appearances for Gerrard's side before he went on to leave the club just six months after his Anfield exit. The 33-year-old went on to join Ajax on a permanent basis during the January transfer window.

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Gerrard remains at Al-Ettifaq and signed a new contract with the club earlier this year that runs until 2027. And now he has explained the emotions he felt after Henderson decided to leave Saudi Arabia and move to the Netherlands.

“I respected his [Henderson's] decision because I love him as a guy, I love him as a player and I have nothing but ultimate respect for him,” he told The Telegraph.

“I was disappointed. Any manager who loses his captain during the season is not ideal and I told Jordan that. But if someone is not settled. If someone has some family things that are affecting him.

"If someone has got different outside goals or opportunities, like England for example, then I have to respect that and understand it. And I do. But was I disappointed? Of course I was.”

Gerrard went on to admit that he did try to convince Henderson to remain at Al-Ettifaq, but also revealed he left the final decision up to the midfielder.

“I did but I didn’t overdo that because it had to be Jordan’s decision,” Gerrard said when asked if he tried to convince Henderson to stay in Saudi Arabia.

“He’s a big boy and I didn’t want to be someone – for example, if I had convinced him to stay and he felt further down [the line] that it was the wrong decision then I didn’t want to be that person who was told ‘why did you convince me to stay?’.

"It had to be Jordan’s decision. He needed his own time. He needed to go through his own processes. The advice I gave to Jordan was ‘do what’s right for your family’.”