England footballer Henderson: NHS staff are the true heroes

Jordan Henderson has praised NHS staff as the “true heroes” after being honoured for services to football and charity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Midfielder Henderson, 30, captained Liverpool 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 announced in early April last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic which saw 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.

On receiving his MBE for services to football and charity, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, 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.”

Also honoured was Elaine Orton, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, who has been made an OBE for services to the NHS during Covid-19.