Jordan Henderson watches his new Ajax teammates in action in the Eredivisie clash against RKC Waalwijk after his debut was delayed due to Brexit

Jordan Henderson was spotted in the stands at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Sunday after his Ajax debut was delayed due to a rule resulting from the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

The 33-year-old midfielder joined the Dutch side on Thursday after Saudi club Al-Ettifaq agreed to terminate his contract.

The English midfielder has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Amsterdam outfit.

However, despite much fanfare in the Dutch capital surrounding Henderson’s arrival, Brexit means John van t’Schip’s party will have to apply for and receive a work permit before he can leave.

Even without Henderson, Ajax beat RKC Waalwijk 4-1 with Brian Brobbey scoring twice in the first half.

Jordan Henderson was spotted in the stands watching his new club at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Sunday

Henderson watched his new Ajax teammates in action after his debut was postponed

The English midfielder has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Amsterdam outfit

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While approval will be a formality for Henderson, the process could take up to two weeks, potentially delaying the midfielder’s debut until early February.

Henderson has apologized to LGBTQ+ fans hurt by his move to Saudi Arabia, adding that he hopes to impress Ajax enough to earn a call-up to England’s Euro 2024 squad after speaking with Gareth Southgate.

Henderson was unveiled at Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam as he explained his turnaround, six months after leaving Liverpool for Al Ettifaq on a three-year deal. The move left the 33-year-old midfielder, who has been a champion of the LGBTQ+ community, accused of treason as same-sex relationships are illegal in Saudi Arabia.

«If some people in this community feel disappointed or hurt, I’m sorry,» said Henderson, who was backed by his former Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Friday. “If anyone was offended or feels that I upset them, that’s on me, it was my decision and I’m sorry for that. It was never my intention.

«I just want to look ahead now and focus on being the best player for Ajax.» My beliefs have never changed and never will. I can only apologize again if people feel disappointed.»

Henderson faced further criticism from those who described it as an «if you were offended» apology, although he was welcomed by Ajax fans.

It was claimed on Friday that his shirt is already the fastest selling shirt in the Dutch club’s history after Al Ettifaq agreed to terminate his contract to facilitate the move.

The 33-year-old arrives at the club amid an impressive run of form that has seen them bounce back from a shockingly poor start to the campaign.

Henderson joined Ajax earlier this month after leaving Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq

But the England midfielder will need a work permit before he can make his Eredivisie debut due to Brexit rules


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Five defeats from their first nine league games saw the club drop to their lowest ever position in the Dutch top flight at the end of October. Manager Maurice Steijn was reprimanded as fan unrest reached an all-time high.

Since then, the club have recovered well under interim boss Van t’ Schip and are back in European contention with six wins from their last eight games.

Meanwhile, Ajax remain in the hunt for their first continental trophy since 1995 in the European Conference League.

After the third place in the Europa League group, the club went to the elimination round of the play-off competition, where they will face the Norwegian team Bodo/Glimt in February for a place in the round of 16.

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