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- The 33-year-old midfielder joined the Dutch side from Al-Ettifaq on Thursday
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Jordan Henderson was spotted in the stands at Johan Cruyff Arena on Sunday after his Ajax debut was delayed because of a rule stemming from the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The 33-year-old midfielder joined the Dutch side on Thursday after Saudi club Al-Ettifaq agreed to terminate his contract.
The England midfielder had signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Amsterdam outfit.
However, despite much fanfare in the Dutch capital surrounding Henderson’s arrival, Brexit means John van t’ Schip’s side will have to apply for, and be granted, a work permit before he can feature.
While an approval will prove little more than a formality in Henderson’s case, the process could take up to two weeks, potentially delaying the midfielder’s debut until early February.
Jordan Henderson was spotted in the stands watching his new club at Johan Cruyff Arena on Sunday
Henderson watched his new Ajax team-mates in action after his debut was delayed
The England midfielder had signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Amsterdam outfit
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Henderson apologised to the LGBTQ+ fans hurt by his move to Saudi Arabia, adding he hopes to impress enough with Ajax to earn a call-up for England’s Euro 2024 squad after speaking with Gareth Southgate.
Henderson was unveiled at Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam as he explained his U-turn, six months after leaving Liverpool for Al Ettifaq on a three-year deal. That move saw the 33-year-old midfielder, who was a champion of the LGBTQ+ community, accused of betrayal as same-sex relationships are illegal in Saudi Arabia.
‘If any people from that community feel let down or hurt I apologise,’ said Henderson — who was also given support by his former Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Friday. ‘If anyone was offended or feels as though I upset them, that’s on me, that was my decision and I apologise for that. It was never my intention.
‘I just want to look forward now and concentrate on being the best player I can for Ajax. My beliefs have never changed and never will. Again, I can only apologise if people feel let down.’
Henderson faced further criticism by those branding this an ‘if you were offended’ apology, though Ajax fans have welcomed him.
It was claimed on Friday that his is already the fastest-selling shirt in the Dutch club’s history after Al Ettifaq agreed to terminate his contract to facilitate the move.
The 33-year-old arrives at the club during an impressive run of form that has seen them bounce back from a shockingly poor start to the campaign.
Henderson joined Ajax earlier this month after departing Saudi side Al-Ettifaq
But the English midfielder will need a work permit before he can debut in the Eredivisie due to Brexit rules
Five defeats from their first nine league games left the club in their lowest-ever position in the Dutch top flight at the end of October with manager Maurice Steijn axed while fan unrest reached an all-time high.
Since then though the club have recovered well under interim boss Van t’ Schip, moving back into European contention with six wins from their last eight games.
Meanwhile Ajax remain in the hunt for their first continental trophy since 1995 in the Europa Conference League.
After finishing third in their Europa League group, the club transferred to the competition’s knockout round playoffs where they will face Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in February for a place in the round of 16.