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11th Jun 2021

Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson included on Queen’s honours list

Reuben Pinder

Well deserved

England duo Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have been awarded MBEs after being named on the Queen’s birthday’s honours list for their community work.

Sterling, who played alongside Henderson at Liverpool before joining Manchester City five years ago, received the honour for his work promoting racial equality in sport after being a vocal presence in the fight against the rise of online racist abuse over the past year.

“Receiving this honour is a fantastic feeling and a proud moment – not just for myself but for my family and friends,” Sterling said.

“I’m grateful to have been recognised but my priority is to try to help educate society and myself. If it doesn’t start from within, then there’s no way you can help others.

“I’m learning every day. 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. There are still a lot of things we can get better at as a society such as social media with people taking more accountability.

“I think that is a major factor in achieving the ultimate goal of racial equality. We also need to support young people and give them opportunities to show what they are capable of achieving.

“I’ve launched a foundation for underprivileged kids from deprived backgrounds. It’s something that I’m really excited to work on because I can relate to it and I will give 100 per cent. If I can help to change one or two lives then I’ve done a massive thing there. If you want to make change then it has to start from yourself.”

Henderson, meanwhile, has been involved in a number of social causes since before the pandemic began, but stepped up his efforts over the past 18 months.

The Liverpool captain was included on the honours list ‘for services to football and charity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic’ after he led a unified effort from every Premier League captain to raise funds for the underfunded NHS services at times of severe strain.

“My family and I feel greatly humbled to be recognised in this way, more so given the reason for it,” said Henderson.

“There are many privileges that come from playing professional football, but having a platform to promote a charitable cause such as Players Together and NHS Charities Together is as big a privilege as any.

“It’s important for me to state that although the honour has been issued to me personally, the credit must be shared to a far larger group of people and I accept this in the knowledge I was part of something special, rather than the reason for it. The other Premier League captains were the catalyst and the rest of the players, including my own teammates at Liverpool, were a driving force behind the scenes.

“Huge numbers of football fans, from across the country, also displayed great generosity in donating. 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.”

Former England manager Roy Hodgson, who has just left Crystal Palace after a globetrotting career, was also included on the list, among others.