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Both Gareth Southgate and Alastair Cook have received gongs in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, as Britain’s sporting superstars have been rewarded for their exemplary efforts both on and off the field. Former England Cricket captain Cook has been knighted, whilst the current England men’s football boss Southgate has been honoured with the award of an OBE after guiding the national side to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018.

Still just 34-years of age, cricketing maestro Cook enjoyed a fitting finale to his twelve-year international representation of England in September, bowing out with a century against India.

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He enjoyed a stellar sporting career at the top level, finishing as not only the top Test match run scorer for England, but also placing fifth on the all-time list above the likes of Brian Lara and Allan Border.

Southgate’s World Cup success

Southgate continues to draw praise from all corners with his refreshing attitude to football management with the national side. His focus on developing youth paid rich dividends in Russia at the World Cup, as his side only narrowly missed out on reaching the final after going toe to toe with Croatia in their last four battle.

Recognising that a near miss is not the culmination of his expectations though, he has subsequently steered the national team to next year’s UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal. His OBE backs up the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award that was bestowed upon him recently.

Harry Kane received an award

His major weapon and captain at the Russia World Cup, Harry Kane has also been recognised in the New Year Honours, as the Spurs’ forward received an MBE to go nicely alongside the Golden Boot that he won at the tournament itself as the top goal scorer. His striking prowess continues to be a major driving force behind Tottenham’s push for the Premier League title.

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Rugby union heroes honoured

The world of Rugby union was also celebrated by the Queen, with ex-England captain Bill Beaumont matching Cook’s knighthood gong and Scottish rugby great Doddie Weir receiving an OBE. The 66-year-old Lancastrian, Beaumont became a familiar face on British television as a captain on the quiz show “A Question of Sport” through the eighties, but his rugby heroics are also well remembered by many as he led England to the Grand Slam back in 1980 and gained 34 caps in total. Recognition has followed off the field, as Beaumont became Chairman of World Rugby in 2016.

Weir battles MND

Weir has faced battles both on and off the field during his life. A formidable adversary on the pitch, the 6ft 6in former lock forward for the British Lions has had to contend with being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in recent years. However, his enduring spirit has remained undiminished throughout and he has founded the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, as he campaigns to raise funds to find a cure and provide much-needed assistance to people living with that condition.

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He announced recently that the charity had raised a prodigious figure in excess of £1 million.