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Southgate refuses to rule Henderson out of the England national team despite Saudi League transfer

Jordan Henderson bid farewell to Liverpool and embarked on a new chapter in his career with Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Ettifaq this summer.

Despite moving to a footballing backwater, Henderson wants to continue playing for the England national team.

As the 2024 European Championship looms, Henderson spoke to the England national team manager Gareth Southgate before moving to Saudi Arabia.

Henderson sought reassurance that the transfer to a low-ranked league would not automatically bar him from future call-ups.

Southgate refrained from offering any guarantees but refused to shut the door on the midfielder’s international career.

Southgate addressed Henderson’s situation in an interview with talkSPORT this morning.

“I spoke to him in the summer,” he said. “The question he wanted to know was, ‘If I move here, are you going to automatically rule me out?’

“We would be stupid to do that. Why would we rule anyone out based on where they are playing? We have got to see how they are playing.”

Southgate acknowledged that while they have an idea of what the Saudi Pro League may look like, the dynamics could drastically change as more top-notch players moved there this summer.

The league is now attracting big names and still has the potential for surprises and growth, and Southgate is keeping a close eye on how it unfolds.

He added: “If you asked me three months ago what that league would look like, I’d have a very different idea to what it is looking like as more and more players decide to go there.”

Southgate emphasised that age and past achievements wouldn’t be the criteria for selection. Performance and form would be paramount – regardless of the location where the players ply their trade.

The England manager has long been accused of favouritism towards Henderson and will likely call him up if he plays well in Saudi Arabia.

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