Southgate defends Henderson from criticism despite LGBTQ+ protests

Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane defend Jordan Henderson from criticism despite protests from LGBTQ+ supporters – as England manager says he is ‘sure fans will get behind’ under-fire midfielder

  • Gareth Southgate has defended England star Jordan Henderson from criticism 
  • LGBTQ+ fans may protest against him during the Ukraine clash in Poland
  • Harry Kane has also come to the defence of his team-mate, who joined Al-Ettifaq 

Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane have rallied round under-fire midfielder Jordan Henderson as the England vice-captain faces protests from their LGBTQ+ supporters tonight.

England face Ukraine in Poland where victory would see them take a huge step towards Euro 2024.

But the game is set to be overshadowed by protests from England’s LGBTQ+ fanbase who oppose Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia this summer.

Homosexuality is outlawed in Saudi and punishable by the death penalty.

Joe White, co-chair of the supporters’ group Three Lions Pride, has revealed angry fans are considering turning their backs in protest at Henderson, who is hopeful of starting.

Gareth Southgate has defended Jordan Henderson from criticism despite the co-chair of Three Lions Pride revealing that fans may turn their backs in protest 

Henderson was seen as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community but his move from Liverpool to Al-Ettifaq sparked feelings of betrayal and anger

But speaking yesterday, head coach Southgate — who may hand starts to Marc Guehi and Ben Chilwell in Wroclaw — said: ‘I don’t pick the team based on external reaction, but he’s a very experienced professional. He is very mature at handling any situation. He’s trained really well this week. His feeling towards that community hasn’t changed.

‘I am sure all of our fans are going to get behind the team when the game starts. I am sure they will get behind Jordan when the game starts as well.’

Captain Kane added: ‘Every England fan is entitled to their opinions, and what they want to do. Like Gareth said, the majority of England fans will be behind the team and once the game starts will be fully behind everyone.

‘Jordan is a good friend and a great person. Everyone here knows how good a person he is. He has got a job to do here, as we all do and that’s where his focus will be. Once we’re on the pitch that is all we will think about.’

Harry Kane added that ‘Jordan is a good friend and a great person. Everyone here knows how good a person he is’

Meanwhile, Kane has admitted England’s players are in the dark over whether next summer’s European Championships in Germany will be Southgate’s final tournament in charge. The FA have started putting together a succession plan in case Southgate leaves his role after the tournament.

Kane added: ‘We don’t know if it’s going to be his last tournament or not. Only he can make the decision. All of us, we want to win it for ourselves and for the team, and we want to win it for the boss as well.

‘He has been a huge part of a lot of our success so far, and to think where we were as a team, where we are now, the biggest part of that has come down to him, not just on the pitch, but off the pitch, connections with everyone as well. There is added motivation.’

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