England "it would be very different" if the selection were based on a "popularity contest"declared the coach Gareth Southgatewhen asked about the boos towards his midfielder Jordan Hendersonat Wembley.
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"I always select the players who for me are the best to represent the team, those who give us the best chances of winning, unless I think there is something inappropriate," said the 'Three Lions' skipper on the eve of the match. qualification for Euro 2024 against Italy, in London.
Henderson comes under fire since he left Liverpool this summer to join the more lucrative but less disputed Saudi Arabian championshipa country in which homosexuals can be sentenced to corporal punishment, prison and even the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.
The LGTBQI+ community felt betrayed after having appreciated the past positions that the player had had towards her, such as symbolically wearing the rainbow bracelet or statements in favor of human rights before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
We may not agree with Jordan's decision, after the position he had had in the past in favor of the LGTBQI+ community, but I don't think it is a reason not to select him. I don't think it's a reason to boo him either," Southgate declared at a press conference.
The name of Henderson was whistled by some spectators during the team lineup announcement, before the friendly against Australia (1-0) at Wembley. The boos were much louder when the player, designated captain by the Harry Kane breakwas substituted in the second half.
"If I had to make my selection based on a popularity contest, our team would be very, very different," Southgate concluded.
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