The England duo have been awarded the honour for their charitable work off the field
Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling are among those to be given MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The duo are currently with the England squad, having been selected to the Three Lions’ 26-man team for the Euros.
And now the Liverpool captain and Manchester City star have been recognised for their charitable work alongside former Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, who has been awarded an CBE for his services to football.
Henderson’s work with the NHS
Henderson’s honour comes as a result of his work with the NHS in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Liverpool captain formed a charitable fund, Players Together, which was used to support the NHS last spring as he rallied together the Premier League’s players, encouraging them to donate to causes that aided public health.
The midfielder has also become an ambassador for the NHS Charities Together organisation while also working with Cybersmile’s anti-cyberbullying campaign ‘People Not Profiles’, which fights against online abuse.
“My family and I feel greatly humbled to be recognised in this way, more so given the reason for it,” Henderson said.
“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.”
Sterling’s battle for racial equality
Sterling, meanwhile, has fought for racial equality in sport, having been one of the leading figures in football when it comes to that fight.
The Manchester City winger has spoken openly and candidly about his experiences with racism, having worked with the United Nations’ #FightRacism campaign while launching his own foundation for young people.
“Receiving this honour is a fantastic feeling – I know it’s something my family and friends will be truly proud of,” Sterling said.
“It’s a lovely achievement, not only for me, but my family and friends, too. My motivation regarding racial equality is trying to get the general public and people as a whole to understand the difficulties that certain diverse backgrounds face and just try to create an environment where everyone are equals because at the end of the day we all are.
“That’s been my motive from day one and I can slowly see progression and we are making a step in the right direction.
“If you want to make a change, it has to start from within. I’ve launched my foundation with the idea of giving back to kids from less privileged areas and give them something else as a motivation.
“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.
“I feel we are making a step in the right direction but there is a lot more hard work to do.”