FORMER Saints striker Alan Shearer commended the bravery of footballers who have spoken out about historical sex abuse as he was honoured for his charity work.

The Premier League's all-time top scorer, who is an ambassador for the NSPCC, said he was "saddened" to hear of further allegations as the scandal continues to engulf the sport.

Shearer, who scored 30 goals in 63 appearances for the Three Lions, spoke as he was made a CBE by the Duke of Cambridge during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Asked about the current mood in the world of football, the 46-year-old told the Press Association: "We feel very sorry for what's happened to the guys and commend their bravery for coming forward, which hopefully will help others come forward as well.

"It hasn't been a great period for football - but we have to commend the guys' bravery."

Shearer was granted the award in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June for his charitable services to the community in his native North East.

He was joined at the Palace by recipients including Dublin-born artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin, who received a knighthood for services to art, and Times columnist Melanie Reid, who was made an MBE for services to journalism and people with disabilities.

Shearer described the ceremony as "fabulous" and "nerve-wracking", despite having received an OBE in 2001.

"I've done it before but it doesn't get any easier," he said.

The former footballer, who captained England 34 times, ruled out managing the national side in the future and threw his support behind newly-appointed boss Gareth Southgate.

"I'm pleased that we have given it to a young, up-and-coming, energetic manager, who has played international football over 50 times and who has played in major tournaments," Shearer said.

"I really want him to do well. I hope he can do well and he deserves it, because he is hard-working, honest and dedicated."

Sir Michael said receiving his knighthood from William was "very special".

The 75-year-old artist is known for creating images from common objects and credited with nurturing the Young British Artists movement in the late 1980s, whose members include Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

Asked if there was a place for his work at Buckingham Palace, he said: "I would be happy to lend them something.

"Say if something was being restored and they had a gap, I could offer to lend a work ... I'd let them choose which one."

Great Britain's former Olympic hockey captain Pauline Stott, who received an MBE for services to the sport and the promotion of the sport in Scotland, said she was "very, very proud".

Mrs Stott, 47, who played in two Olympics and ended her career with 203 caps for Scotland and Great Britain, said the Duke called it a "super sport".

She praised Team GB's woman's hockey squad, who won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics, saying: "I know they have worked extremely hard - you don't get that for nothing."