GARETH SOUTHGATE jetted to Amsterdam to watch Jordan Henderson’s Ajax debut yesterday.
With Henderson, 33, back in Europe, Southgate made the short flight to see him play.
The former Liverpool captain played his final game for Al-Ettifaq on December 28.
Henderson played the full 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw.
Southgate watched the match alongside pal Steve Cooper.
After hearing that the Three Lions boss had been in attendance, Henderson said: “I wasn’t aware he was here. I’ve only just found out now.”
Asked if Southgate had deliberately kept his presence a secret, Henderson added: “I don’t know. He might not have wanted to put pressure on me but it’s nice to know that he came to watch.
“He picked a nice and high-intense game to watch.”
Many fans online were irritated by Southgate’s decision to go and watch Henderson.
One wrote on social media: “Southgate needs sacking if he picks Henderson for the euros ahead of players that will deserve it more.
“Never once have I heard of him travelling to Italy or Spain to watch other English players.”
While a second fumed: “18 English players featured in the Newcastle vs Luton Game, 12 in Everton vs Tottenham, 10 in Brighton vs Crystal Palace, 5 in Burnley vs Fulham and 12 in Sheffield United vs Aston Villa yet Gareth Southgate travelled to watch Jordan Henderson play for Ajax. Pathetic.”
A third wrote: “Complete waste of time for Gareth to go and watch him since we know he’ll pick him regardless of club form.”
And another added: “Southgate is too rigid. Soon, he will be going to Bayern to see how Dier is doing.”
‘IT FELT INCREDIBLE’
After being underwhelmed by his experience in Saudi Arabia, Henderson was buzzing to return to European football.
He said: “It felt incredible. It certainly didn’t disappoint, and I loved every second of it.
“I just want to concentrate on Ajax and the future and focus on this new chapter of my career.
“This was a special night for me to be out there and an amazing game to start with. It’s been an incredible first few weeks.
“I couldn’t have felt more at home if I tried. I’ve settled really well and I feel like I’ve been here such a long time already.”