Football stars have joined forces to encourage everyone to get a Covid jab when their turn comes, with the NHS vaccination programme hailed as the “best defence” of the year.

Players and pundits including Harry Redknapp and Chris Kamara feature in a new short film backing the jabs rollout.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked the stars for “lending their support to help get the UK vaccinated”.

Sky Sports presenter and pundit Kamara told viewers of the short video: “The best defence of the year looks to belong to the NHS vaccination programme.”

Others to appear include former England women’s player Eniola Aluko, who said: “It’s great to see more and more people receiving the vaccine, especially now younger people are becoming eligible.

“Vaccines are encouraged and advisable to go back to a more normal way of life, especially so we can make sure that we see fuller football stadiums and get back to the sport as we know it.”

Redknapp, a former manager and player, has had both doses, saying there had been “no pain but plenty to gain”.

He added: “I’d encourage everyone to take up the offer of the vaccine when they are called. (Harry) Maguire’s defence might be pretty good, but the jab is better.”