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Liverpool star Jordan Henderson has reignited his feud with old sparring partner Matt Hancock by admitting he hopes the suspended Tory MP is made to do snake challenges on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
The England international, who is hoping to be on the plane when Gareth Southgate’s squad fly to Qatar for the World Cup later this month, has publicly slammed Hancock on several occasions, having taken exception to his comments on footballers at the height of the Covid pandemic. Hancock, who served as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care between 2018 and 2021, called on wealthy Premier League players to ‘take a pay cut and play their part’ towards the start of the pandemic in the UK.
Henderson had spearheaded the ‘Players Together’ initiative that raised millions for the NHS during the pandemic and was left unimpressed by his comments, recently labelling them a ‘cheap shot’. The 32-year-old has again spoken about Hancock and explained his hope for the former Health Secretary after he was named as part of the 2022 I’m A Celebrity line up.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “Matt Hancock? We’ll get him to do all the challenges. Underground with the snakes, he can do all them.” Hancock is joined on the show, which begins this evening at 9pm on ITV, by celebrities like Mike Tindall, Boy George and former England and Lioness star Jill Scott.
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Henderson is not the only footballer to criticise Hancock recently, with ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville also voicing his opposition to the 44-year-old’s comments at a Labour conference in Liverpool. Neville said: “Footballers, while they were attacked by Matt Hancock early on in the pandemic, which brought me to life and sparked me into speaking politically, you know … footballers aren’t the people we should be attacking here.
“We’re all watching at five o’clock every night, that Downing Street briefing comes on and that guy comes on and I’m thinking: ‘Come on a minute, give me a break’.” Hancock has received a lot of backlash since the announcement was made that he would be heading into the jungle as a late arrival, with a petition being launched by Covid-19 bereaved families for him to be axed.
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The politician, who has also had the Tory whip suspended over his decision to join the show, has however defended his actions. “Where better to show the human side of those who make these decisions than with the most-watched programme on TV? And there are many ways to communicate. It’s one of the many important things I learnt during the pandemic,” he told The Sun.
“It’s as clear as day that politicians like me must go to where the people are — particularly those who are politically disengaged. We must wake up and embrace popular culture.”
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