LONDON: England’s Euro 2020 pair Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling have received MBE awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, along with a CBE for former national team manager Roy Hodgson.

Sterling has been honoured for his efforts in the fight for racial equality in sport, while Henderson is recognised for service to football and charity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former England manager Hodgson is also honoured on the list as he receives a CBE for services to football. The 73-year-old, who left his role as Crystal Palace boss at the end of the season, was England manager from 2012 until 2016.

Midfielder Henderson, 30, helped guide the Reds to Champions League success in 2019 and the Premier League title in the disrupted 2019-20 campaign.

Off the field, he also had a leading role in the #PlayersTogether initiative, which was announced in early April last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic as football and other sports all come to a halt.

Premier League captains worked together to help establish a joint contribution fund which was directed to the NHS Charities Together group for distribution to good causes working to provide support to NHS staff and patients.

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.

“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, part of the City side which won the Premier League title last season and reached the Champions League final against Chelsea, has continued to front anti-racism and discrimination campaigns.

He said: “Receiving this honour is a fantastic feeling and a proud moment – not just for myself but for my family and friends. I am grateful to have been recognised but my priority is to try to help to 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.
The 26-year-old has been subjected to online racist abuse throughout his career for both club and country.

It all began with Halmstad in Sweden back in 1976, before Hodgson guided Malmo to five consecutive Swedish league titles between 1985 and 1989.

Hodgson also had stints in charge of Switzerland, Inter Milan and Blackburn as well as the United Arab Emirates and Finland national teams.

In 2007, he returned to English football with Fulham, guiding the west London club to the 2010 Europa League final, before taking on the Liverpool job, albeit lasting just six months at Anfield.

After an impressive spell with West Brom, Hodgson stepped into the England hot seat following the resignation of Fabio Capello.

Hodgson went on to guide the Three Lions through Euro 2012 and on to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they failed to progress from the group.

He left his post following Euro 2016, which ended in a shock defeat to Iceland in the last 16.

In September 2017, Croydon-born Hodgson returned to his boyhood club, where he had played in the Palace youth ranks, to replace Dutchman Frank De Boer.

Hodgson will be 74 in August, but has not completely ruled out a possible return to the game he loves one day.

“It is a dangerous thing to start making bold statements about retirement and this is the end of me,” Hodgson said following the announcement of his departure from Palace.

“I really am stepping down from the club and stepping away from football for a while, but who knows what the future will be?”