Jordan Henderson has revealed that he didn’t feel wanted by Liverpool after conversations over his future sparked ‘alarm bells’.
The Sunderland-born star spent 12 years at Anfield, playing 492 times appearances and being named as captain.
Not only was he skipper, but Henderson lifted both the Premier League and the Champions League during his time at the club in addition to winning an FA Cup, two League Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup along the way.
But despite earning legendary status with the Reds, Henderson revealed to The Athletic that his move to join Steven Gerrard at Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia was tinged with bitterness.
Henderson explained: “I had a chat with the manager at the end of last season, which was about the season coming up, the players that we were looking to bring in and what his plans were.
“I went away over the summer and I had an intense period of training to make sure that I was in the best shape possible when I returned to Liverpool.
“There were a few things that sent alarm bells ringing. I’ve got a very good relationship with Jurgen. He was very honest with me.
“I won’t go into detail about the conversation because it’s private, but it put me in a position where I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing as much. I knew there were going to be new players coming in my position.
“And if I’m not playing, as anybody will know, especially the manager, that can be quite difficult for me and especially when I’ve been at a club for so long, I’ve captained the team for so long.
“Especially when England’s a big thing for me. You’ve got the Euros coming up. And then there was an approach from Al Ettifaq to the club to see if it would be possible for me to go there. The reaction from the club again wasn’t to say no.
“At that moment, I felt as though my value or the want for me to stay, with the manager and within the club, maybe it had shifted. I knew that time would come at some point. I didn’t think it would be now. And I had to accept that.
“I’ve got very good relationships with Jurgen, with the owners of the club. That’ll be forever. What we’ve achieved together in the past 12 years has been incredible. But at the same time, it was hard for me to take that.”
Henderson then went on to add that had Liverpool suggested that they’d wanted him to stay, the chances are that he’d still be at Anfield this season, saying: “If one of those people said to me, “Now we want you to stay”, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And I have to then think about what’s next for me in my career.
“Now, that’s not to say that they forced me out of the club or they were saying they wanted me to leave but at no point did I feel wanted by the club or anyone to stay.
“I’m at the latter stage of my career and I want to be happy playing football.
“I want to play. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench and coming on for 10 minutes in games. And I knew that would have an effect on my chances of playing for England.”
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