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Gareth Southgate watches Jordan Henderson make Ajax debut

England boss Gareth Southgate and former Nottingham Forest Steve Cooper, left middle, watched Jordan Henderson’s Ajax debut (PA)
England boss Gareth Southgate and former Nottingham Forest Steve Cooper, left middle, watched Jordan Henderson’s Ajax debut (PA)

England boss Gareth Southgate watched from the stands as Jordan Henderson made his “special” Ajax debut in a 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven.

Former Liverpool captain Henderson played the full 90 minutes at the Johan Cruyff Arena as Steven Berghuis’ opener for Ajax was cancelled out by Luuk de Jong.

Henderson joined Ajax in mid-January after spending less than six months at Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq, but his first appearance was delayed while he waited for a work permit.

The England midfielder said of Southgate’s visit: “Hopefully he picked a good game and he enjoyed the game.”

He added: “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.”

De Jong equalised for PSV before half-time after Berghuis had given Ajax a 19th-minute lead.

Ajax trail runaway leaders PSV by 21 points in the Eredivisie table, but Henderson was delighted to have made his first appearance.

“I think there’s still a lot to improve on, but it’s been a privilege and an honour to play for this club,” Henderson told a post-match press conference.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t finish it in the end. But we’ve got a point to move on from.

“PSV have an amazing team, they’ve been unbeaten all season. 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.”