Jordan Henderson calls for an end to the political blame and calls Matt Hancock’s comments ‘irrelevant’
Footballer of the Year Jordan Henderson says the impetus to organize the massive charitable efforts to support the NHS during the peak of the corona virus pandemic came from a desire to bring the nation together in a time of crisis.
The Liverpool captain, who was named Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year last week, helped coordinate Premier League captains to set up #PlayersTogether in support of the NHS Charities Together.
Henderson, while receiving his award from the FWA, said that controversial comments from health secretary Matt Hancock, who suggested footballers take pay cuts at the height of the crisis, were “irrelevant.”
Jordan Henderson wants to end the political debt game that took place during the lockdown
The Liverpool captain was named Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year on Friday
Henderson insisted that he disliked the politics and guilt game associated with those kinds of comments and wanted to create something more unified.
“(His comments were) irrelevant to me,” said Henderson, who succeeds Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in winning the award, which was first won by Sir Stanley Matthews in 1948. “These are things I personally don’t like – blaming others and blaming each other. That is the biggest problem for me, everyone is looking for each other, everyone wants to take a political stand.
“I think the Premier League and the players across the board have shown that you can put all that aside and get together and do something for the country to help people who are struggling. As you go through difficult situations, everyone has to fight together to make changes.
Henderson says Matt Hancock’s comments that footballers’ pay cuts were “ irrelevant. ”
“The most important thing for me, and this is just my personal belief, is that you need people to change and be successful. I think Liverpool Football Club and Liverpool as a city can show that very well.
“It was a very positive result from a very bad last few months. Setting aside rivalry and bringing together all captains and player representatives from all Premier League clubs and supporting and helping the NHS staff and volunteers for all the work they did was really powerful and meant a lot to us.
“I think we are all very proud of what we did in that period and the captains and players across the board were fantastic and I think it made a big difference to all NHS employees.
“I spoke to all captains and we agreed it was something powerful we could do to help the people who needed it most. Not just financially – we raised a lot of money for the NHS Charities Together, of course – but I think the most important thing when I spoke to Ellie (Orton, chief executive of Charities Together) was the emotional side.
Henderson was at the center of the #playerstogether movement to help the NHS during the crisis
“Many people love football and they look up to us and glorify many players across the country. So to turn that around and for us to look up to them and do something for them and support them, I think they made a huge difference psychologically and it gave them a great boost in a really tough time. ‘
Henderson now wants to use his profile to continue the initiative, citing the work of Marcus Rashford to have the government turn over free food vouchers for the school all summer – and the role players have played in highlighting frustration over persistent racism by mastering games and with the slogan Black Lives Matter.
“Marcus is a perfect example of that and what he has done is incredible,” said Henderson. Raheem Sterling has also been big in terms of racism and change to that effect in recent years.
Marcus Rashford led a successful campaign to enable the extension of free school meals for children
“All captains, all Premier League players, I couldn’t say enough about what they’ve done in recent months to support the people who need it most in the NHS. And also by trying to make changes to the Black Lives Matter campaign and by using their profile and platform to make positive changes, which I feel we have been doing very well in the past two months or so have done.
“I know footballers are stuck – and maybe rightly so – but I think the vast majority of Premier League footballers in general are just people at the end of the day.
“They care and they just want to use their position to make change, whether that’s the NHS and the pandemic or a Black Lives Matter campaign to make a change against racism.
“I think that’s important and we’ve shown that we can get together and put rivalry aside and try to really change things for the bigger picture.
Raheem Sterling was vocal in his support for the Black Lives Matter campaign
“What we’ve done so far is incredible, not just for the NHS, but also for the Black Lives Matter campaign. And I have to say, it’s across the board – it’s every club captain and all the Premier League players who have been involved in these things.
“If we have to meet in the future, I think it’s a good platform for us. I think it has been something very powerful, something very positive that we have done in recent months. You never know, in the future.
“Maybe we can use it for other things, for people who need the most help and to help change.”
30-year-old Henderson finally got the Premier League title for Liverpool this week