STARRY-eyed youngsters got a kick out of meeting footballing heroes as a successful summer soccer academy drew to a close.

Three Blackburn Rovers players joined in with the hopefuls, aged between five and 11, in the final week of the programme.

Winger Craig Conway, midfielder Harry Chapman and Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson showed off their skills in light-hearted sessions designed to inspire children to develop a lasting affection for the game.

The sessions, put on by the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, take place every school holiday and Rovers players have dropped by regularly over the summer. Players also chat with the youngsters, pose for photographs and are happy to sign items.

A trust spokesman said defenders Ryan Nyambe and Derrick Williams were among other players to have participated.

He said: "On average we have perhaps 60 to 70 youngsters a day attending. When the players come along it adds value to what we do."

Youngsters travel from outside Rovers' traditional fan base to attend, with one child having made the journey from Spain. Not all are supporters of the club, however.

Winners of competitions staged during the academy are offered the chance to be matchday mascots.

The spokesman said: "The youngsters are of mixed abilities but it's all about fun and participation."