FORMER Rochdale player Joe Thompson has been honoured with the Sir Tom Finney Award by the English Football League.
The 30-year-old midfielder retired from professional football in February having twice recovered from cancer.
After his second return in December 2017, Thompson went on to score the goal that saw his side avoid relegation from League One last season.
"For me to win this award is massive and I know all of my family are proud," Thompson said.
"To be recognised for contributions on and off the pitch is unbelievable as well as the recognition to win such a prestigious award."
Thompson was first diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma while at Tranmere Rovers in 2013 and given the all-clear in 2014.
After being diagnosed with cancer again in March 2017, he was in complete remission by June of that year and returned for the second half of the 2017-18 season.
The award, which has previously been won by former Southampton striker Rickie Lambert and ex-Bolton forward Kevin Davies among others, is presented to a player who has had an outstanding career and contributed an exceptional amount to the EFL.
Following his retirement, Thompson said he would pursue a career in motivational speaking, mentoring and the media.
"There's things within football that I have achieved that are brilliant and I would have loved to have achieved more," Thompson added.
"But when you get the whole picture, I'd rather be known as a good person than a good footballer."