Henderson struggles should act as warning for other players

Henderson struggles should act as warning for other players

The old adage - 'the grass isn't always greener' - has never been more true, as Jordan Henderson and others are finding out.  Other players should take note when deciding their futures.

When asked directly (during his unveiling as an Ajax player), whether he would use his experiences in Saudi Arabia, to worn other players against making a simiar move, Jorden Henderson gave a very dignified and professional answer,

"No definitely not. Everyone is different. Big players are there now loving every second of it. You might get others that don't settle or something happens in their private life.  Things change quickly. I wouldn't speak badly of the league or the clubs or anything like that. I have full respect for the opportunity I was given to go there."

What else could he really say.  Being only six months into a three year contract, Henderson has agreed to forego the wages he earnt in Saudi Arabia, to help smooth his exit.  Part of the deal, will also likely have been an understanding that he would not disrespect the Saudi Pro League or its ambitions, by speaking negatively of his experiences.

The reality though, despite what Henderson says publicly, is that he couldn't wait to leave.  Whther it was for personal or footballing reasons, it took Henderson only a few short months to realise that he had made a big mistake.  To his credit, he has acted quickly to rectify that mistake, but at a huge financial loss, and with massive damage already done to his image and credability.

So where does that leave other footballers tempted by the Saudi Pro League's massive wages?

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Financial gains, but at what cost...

It's far to simplistic, to suggest that all footballers would move to Saudi Arabia, simply for the money.  For many, the chance to play in a muslim country would be a huge benefit.  Similarly, players with an African or Asian heritage, would be comfortable with the climate and culture.  The questions facing players then, are very different for European, and non European players.

One question that is universal to all players though, regardless of their background or beliefs, is their personal ambition.  At what level do they want to be playing football?

Just as with any career, footballers generally want to be the best player they can be.  They don't train for years, often moving hundreds or thousands of miles away from their families, to just be average.  Of course the financial rewards are huge, but ask most retired players what their proudest moment is, and it won't be the salary they earnt, it will be trophies they won, or the cup final appeareances they made.  Players want to play in the biggest games, with the biggest crowds, for the biggest trophies.

And that is where the Saudi Pro League can't compete.  European leagues and clubs have bigger competitions, with larger crowds, better players and more history.  One day, somewhere in the future, that mght change. But if a player wants to challenge themselves on the biggest stage, against the best opponents, and win the biggest prizes, they need to play football in Europe.

Jordan Henderson left Liverpool for a number of reasons, but the quality of football in the Saudi Pro League was not one of them.  Just six months later, the realisation of his decision has hit home, and that's why Henderson's struggles should act as warning for other players

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... About The Author ...

Peter Farrell :: LFC - Back On Our Perch Author and Editor

Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 487

Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.

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