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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Jordan Henderson hails ‘really special’ Ajax debut in PSV draw


Jordan Henderson made his Ajax Amsterdam debut on Saturday, competing the full 90 minutes as they held unbeaten leaders PSV Eindhoven to a 1-1 draw in the Dutch league.

England manager Gareth Southgate watched from the stands at the Johan Cruyff Arena as the 33-year-old former Liverpool captain, signed last month from Saudi club Al Ettifaq, received a rousing welcome and looked comfortable in the Ajax midfield.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

“It was a very good game,” Henderson told ESPN after the final whistle. “The atmosphere was incredible. Obviously it was a special day for me and my family. To represent this football club for the first time. That was special. And to play in this stadium was really special.”

Steven Berghuis put Ajax ahead after 19 minutes, but PSV equalised 10 minutes before half-time through Luuk de Jong.

“PSV have an amazing team, they’ve been unbeaten all season,” Henderson added. “But I thought we had some good chances to win the game towards the end. But unfortunately we couldn’t find the back of the net.”

PSV have won 18 of their 20 games this season, drawing the other two and have a 13-point lead over second-placed Feyenoord who play on Sunday.

Ajax, who made a poor start to the season before recovering, are in fifth place, 21 points behind PSV.

“I think there’s still a lot to improve on,” Henderson added of his first outing in an Ajax shirt. “But it’s been a privilege and an honor to play for this club. Unfortunately we couldn’t finish it in the end. But we’ve got a point to move on from.”

Henderson continued to be selected for England after his controversial move to Saudi Arabia, despite opposition from some supporters. And Henderson said he wasn’t aware Southgate would be in attendance on Saturday.

“Hopefully he picked a good game and he enjoyed the game,” Henderson told reporters in a post-match news conference.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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