Arsenal Ladies star Rachel Yankey has been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year's honours list. The England international has been recognised for her services to women's football and was surprised but delighted to hear of the honour.

"It's such a shock, I received a letter telling me that I had been listed for the honour and to be honest I thought it was a joke!" said Yankey.

"It is definitely the biggest achievement I've had to date; if I've played for England or in the FA Cup Final I've hoped that that the team will win so it's something I've thought of, but I didn't ever imagine that I would get nominated for something like this.

"It's amazing to have my name alongside some of the great sporting personalities, like England's cricketers and Sebastian Coe among others.

"It's also fantastic recognition for the women's game, whether it was me or someone else, it highlights the way the game is moving forward all the time and the great work that's being done."

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1 Jan 2006