England’s elite athletes have combined to boost the NHS in the battle against coronavirus.

The initiative, which involves the likes of Raheem Sterling, Steph Houghton and Joe Root, is designed to help stem the spread of covid-19.

England’s finest have stepped up to use their social media followings to reinforce the message from the government, doctors and scientists: Stay home.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

First up was Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, who said: “Life is very different for us all at the moment and sport rightfully stands aside to support a more important cause during these unprecedented times.

“We were supposed to be welcoming Italy and Denmark to Wembley Stadium in the coming days but football is insignificant as we are all in the midst of a global battle.

“Now is the time for sport to come together, speak with one voice and be united behind a very clear message: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Houghton and other footballers, who will send their message at 3pm today when they would usually be playing, added: “Whilst so many of us love watching and playing football and sport in general, it’s not important at the moment.

“Everybody is adapting to new situations and although it’s different and difficult, we are seeing the best in people. Communities supporting one another by dropping off shopping, picking up prescriptions and people reaching out to support each other. 

“Football will return and we will appreciate it a little more for the joy it brings but for now stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

While Root, who had England’s tour of Sri Lanka cut short due to the virus, said: “If we all work together to stay inside then we can help those working flat-out on the frontlines to save lives.”​

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