Jordan Henderson admits his recent experiences with crowd troubles and stadium troubles have made him think twice about taking his family to the World Cup in Qatar.
The 32-year-old was on the bench as England’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy was marred by riots among fans on the doorstep of Wembley Stadium.
He then captained Liverpool in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last season, a game that was delayed due to spectators being unable to access the Stade de France, which resulted in local police using tear gas and pepper spray against fans and eventually a full investigation commissioned by UEFA.
Henderson’s family almost got caught up in the Wembley riot when ticketless fans stormed through security.
“My family and friends have had some experiences over the past few years that have really shocked them and probably put them off going to future games,” he said.
“Hopefully that will change in the near future as the tournament gets closer. But when you see scenes like the European Championship final, the Champions League final, they don’t really want to go into that situation again.
“My wife and children had to try to get in through a side door (at Wembley) which they didn’t let them in at first. And they were trapped.
“She was trying to get the kids out of it and I think after about 15-20 minutes someone realized she was my wife and she was lucky they let it because they knew I was.” she was quickly a.
“But if that person hadn’t done it, I mean there could have been trouble. My dad was a bit involved, I think some players’ dads, like Harry Maguire’s, got hurt badly.
“I think we all know that wasn’t great, that was a bad experience for a lot of people in that final. Then we have Paris, which is probably worse.
“So I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to put themselves in that situation and to be fair there are two completely different reasons but again if it were me I wouldn’t want to put myself in that situation.
“My dad said he was done with it after the Champions League final. But as it gets closer, I think there are a lot of safety elements and things in Qatar that I’m sure will make people safer.
“But when you’ve had those experiences, sometimes you think if it’s worth risking, but we have to look closer at the time.”
Henderson’s comments came on the back of England team-mate Eric Dier, who said he would not allow his mother to travel and watch him at away games because he said he had seen an increase in fan misconduct.
But it’s not just disorganized fans that can create tension in and around stadiums, as Henderson and his Liverpool team-mates learned just ahead of their Champions League final in Paris.
“Some of my family got involved, which wasn’t ideal. A lot of the players’ families, I think all of them, were caught outside the stadium,” Henderson added.
“I think it was pretty awful. When I talked to some of my friends and family and my father, it was pretty bad.
“I think there could have been a lot more problems in Paris in the final if the fans hadn’t been respectful to be fair so I think the fans were great.
“It was the authorities and the people around the stadium that didn’t cause and didn’t cause problems. But I suppose as a fan, if you go to a game and you don’t feel comfortable and you feel threatened by some situation, you won’t want to go back. And it really is that simple.”
After initially being left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the forthcoming Nations League doubles game against Italy and Germany, Henderson was called up after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Admitting attending the last camp before the World Cup was a factor, he says: “First and foremost it’s about making sure I’m fit and ready to play.
“There’s no point in coming here if I’m not fit. If that’s the case then of course I’d like to see two big games against Italy and Germany but yes, also lead to the World Cup.
“It doesn’t matter what camp it is to be honest, I always want to be a part of the build-up and luckily it worked out and hopefully I can get a good week of training and playing some of the games.”