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England stars Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling have both received MBEs in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
In April last year, Liverpool captain Henderson contacted fellow Premier League captains to organise a coronavirus fund that would go on to raise millions for the NHS.
His idea was for Premier League footballers to contribute to a fund for frontline NHS workers, while the Reds skipper has also earned widespread praise for his supportive words to LGBT teenage fan Keith Spooner in the wake of the annual Premier League Rainbow Laces campaign.
Whilst it has been a memorable few years for Henderson on the pitch – captaining Liverpool to the Champions League and Premier League titles – he has also become a source of inspiration off it.
Jordan Henderson of Liverpool and England has been a leader on and off the pitch
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
His England teammate and former Reds compatriot Sterling has been recognised for services to improving racial equality in sport.
Sterling – who is tipped to star for the Three Lions, alongside Henderson, at this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament – has been actively involved in highlight racism in sport and has led the calls for greater equality.
In both 2020 and 2021, the City forward has been named on the Powerlist – a list of the 100 most influential people of African or African Caribbean heritage in the United Kingdom.
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Sterling was once again influential for Pep Guardiola’s side in the past year, helping them to regain the Premier League title this year and reach their first ever Champions League crown, although they were ousted by Chelsea in last month’s decider.
The forward – who switched Anfield for the Etihad in the summer of 2015 – has scored 114 goals in 292 appearances for City, where he has won nine trophies including three Premier League titles.
Henderson said: “My family and I feel greatly humbled to be recognised in this way, more so given the reason for it.
“But the true heroes are the NHS staff; they put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us.
“Therefore I dedicate this to all the nurses, doctors, carers, porters, admin workers, cleaners, security personnel and every single individual who devotes their career and their lives to making the NHS the part of British life we are rightly most proud of as a nation.”
Sterling added: “Receiving this honour is a fantastic feeling and a proud moment – not just for myself but for my family and friends.
“My motivation for racial equality is to get people to understand the difficulties people from diverse backgrounds face and create an environment where everybody is equal. I feel we are starting to make a step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Also named on the honours list is former Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who receives a CBE for services to football.
The 73-year-old has overseen over 1,200 matches in the dugout and is leaving Selhurst Park after four years, having previously been at the helm of the England international side.
Hodgson has long been one of the most popular figures in English football and has been credited with the evolution of the modern game in Scandinavia, where he began his coaching career in the 1970s.
Alongside his previous roles at Palace and as England boss, Hodgson’s 45-year managerial career spanned spells at Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Malmo FF, Grasshoppers, FC Copenhagen, Udinese, Fulham, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion.
Elsewhere in sport, Leeds Rhinos Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield receives an OBE for his work in the sport and fundraising for motor neurone disease.
Other sporting figures recognised in today’s list include British former basketball star Luol Deng, who came to the UK as a refugee from South Sudan as a child. He went on to play for the Chicago Bulls in the United States, earning spots on the coveted NBA All Star Team two years running.