Rugby League legend Rob Burrow speaks out about his motor neurone disease diagnosis

Katerina Vittozzi, north of England correspondent

Rugby League great Rob Burrow says he "doesn't want people feeling sorry for me" after he was recently diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).

Burrow, 37, played for Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain over a 17-year career.

He admits a diagnosis of MND just before Christmas was a shock but says "I'm ready to take it on".

MND is a degenerative illness that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

The majority of those diagnosed with the condition die within three years of detecting symptoms.

Burrow says: "I'm not putting my head down and sulking, I'm just keeping positive and getting on with it.

"I don't want pity. Apart from my voice going a bit, I feel fine. So as long as that continues, I'll just keeping going."

Burrow retired from playing in 2017 but still coaches for the Leeds Rhinos reserve team.

During his career as scrum-half, he was a prolific scorer, nicknamed by commentators "Little Rob Burrow" because of his height, just 5ft 5in.

"We used to walk out onto the pitch with these kids who were mascots, and most of them were taller than Rob!", Jamie Jones-Buchanan, a former teammate told us.

Jones-Buchanan is dedicating his own testimonial match to Burrow this Sunday.

"It's a real easy thing to do, to turn my testimonial into a game that supports Rob. He'd do exactly the same for me. It's an honour to have known him, to have played with him."

Since Burrow went public about his condition, his former club and fans have raised £250,000 to support the former player, his wife and three young children.

Burrow hopes to play on the pitch, this Sunday, for the final few minutes.

He said: "It's hard to put into words what it feels like when people offer to do everything for you.

"It's very humbling and Sunday's game really epitomises the way the club has been to me."

Sunday's game, against Bradford Bulls, will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, at 3pm.