Jordan Henderson believes he is wiser for his experiences on and off the field after returning to Europe following his ill-fated move to Saudi Arabia.
The former Liverpool captain signed for Dutch side Ajax this week after terminating his controversial stay with Al-Ettifaq less than six months into a three-year deal.
The 33-year-old feels he can still play for several more seasons at the top level.
“I still physically feel very good,” said Henderson as he was formally presented as an Ajax player at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
“I train very hard, I look after myself, I dedicate my life to football. I have done since I was a kid and I hope to play for many, many years to come.
“Obviously with age comes more experience, you learn a lot, you go through different experiences both in football and in life.
“I feel as though I’m a wiser person now at my age and hopefully I can take that onto the pitch, take that into the team and help a lot of the younger players make the next step in their careers, and at the same time be at the level where I need to perform at the highest level every single game.”
With question marks remaining over the standard of competition in the Saudi Pro League – despite obvious huge recent investment in players by its clubs – Henderson’s move could help him maintain his England place ahead of Euro 2024.
Henderson did not deny that was a motivation but insisted his immediate goal was to make his mark in the Eredivisie with Ajax.
He said: “I’ve always got the Euros in mind. I’ve always got England in mind. It’s a big thing for me, playing for my country, as everybody knows, and that’s always been the case wherever I’ve played.
“But ultimately, I’ve got to be doing my job on the pitch for Ajax and doing well for Ajax. That’s my main priority. If I’m doing that, then hopefully I’ll be called up to the England squad.”
Henderson will not be able to make his debut against RKC Waalwijk this weekend as he awaits a work permit. It is unclear how long that will take to come through and, in the meantime, he cannot even train with his new team-mates.
He said: “I’m ready to play as soon as possible but obviously I’ve got to wait. As soon as everything’s good and ready, I’ll be ready to go.”