Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Jordan Henderson's right to make his own career choices even if they are not always "perfect".
Henderson started out at boyhood club Sunderland, coming through their youth academy and playing for the Black Cats in the Premier League.
During 2008/09, the season in which he made his Premier League debut, Henderson spent time on loan at Coventry City in the Championship. In 2011, he signed for Liverpool for a reported fee of £20million.
Henderson's Liverpool career got off to a difficult start, but he soon won the trust of the Kop faithful and became captain after Steven Gerrard left the club in 2015.
Henderson made his England debut in 2010, and has played at six major international tournaments.
Breaking through at Sunderland
According to Sir Alex Ferguson, he had kept an eye on Henderson, but opted not to sign him for Manchester United because of issues with his running style which could lead to injuries.
On 9 June 2011, Henderson joined Liverpool for a reported £20million.
Henderson's transfer fee at Liverpool was the subject of derision. When Chelsea attempted to sign Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur for £22million, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said: "If there has been a bid of £22m that is ridiculous. There are people being sold for £20m who are not fit to lace Luka's boots." It was widely interpreted as a reference to Henderson.
Following the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool struggled to keep pace in 2014/15 and finished sixth in the league. After the end of the season, midfield legend Steven Gerrard left for LA Galaxy, and Henderson was named the new Liverpool captain.
Liverpool spent much of the first half of the 2016/17 season looking like they would at the very least take the title race to the wire. However, they fell off the pace of eventual champions Chelsea as the season progressed, ultimately finishing fourth and narrowly qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
They once again finished fourth in the Premier League in the 2017/18 season, but surprised most with a run to the UEFA Champions League final in Kiev, where they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.
In 2019/20, Liverpool went one better and Henderson collected the Premier League title. However, the Reds were unable to share the moment with their fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Henderson was also named the FWA Footballer of the Year.
However, after a late resurgence in results, Liverpool made a late push into the top four, and secured a third-placed finish on the final day, with Henderson making his 300th Premier League season during the season.
Move to Al-Ettifaq
On July 27, 2023, Henderson ended his 12-year stay at Anfield, in which he won every major trophy, by finalising a controversial move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.
"Jordan Henderson is of course free to play for whoever he chooses, but we would urge him to examine Saudi Arabia's human rights record and be prepared to speak out about human rights violations in the country," Amnesty's UK economic affairs director Peter Frankental said.
Henderson told the official Ajax website: “It’s been a difficult year or so for the club, both on and off the field, but that’s the same for me in the past six months.
“So hopefully we can help each other come together and help each other go forward and try and be as successful as possible in the near future.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, crazy few days, but I’m just so excited now to be here, to start a new chapter, a new journey in my life and my career and I’m just so excited to be here and part of this club.
“Once I knew that there was an opportunity, I was overexcited and really overwhelmed that this opportunity was there for me. It was something that I wanted to try and make happen.”
Henderson added on Instagram: “I’m sad to say that I will be leaving Al-Ettifaq with immediate effect. It wasn’t an easy decision but one that I feel is best for me and my family.”
Jordan Henderson and England national team
Henderson did come off the bench regularly through the tournament, though, and headed home his first England goal in the quarter-final against Ukraine.
Jordan Henderson personal life
The former Sunderland man was the instigator of a fund organised by Premier League captains to donate millions of pounds to the NHS during Covid-19.
Jordan Henderson net worth
Henderson earned reported wages of up to £700,000-a-week with Al-Ettifaq and could earn 75% less at Ajax.