CLARETS legend Jimmy McIlroy is the toast of Burnley after receiving one of football's highest honours.

The Turf Moor icon was described as ‘one of the most fantastic midfield players I've ever seen’ by Manchester United hero Sir Bobby Charlton as he was inducted into English football’s Hall of Fame.

Mr McIlroy said the recognition at Manchester’s National Football Museum made for ‘a night to remember’ for him and his family.

The 82-year-old, who scored 131 goals in 497 appearances for Burnley between 1950 and 1963, is widely regarded as the greatest player to turn out for the club.

The former Northern Ireland international was accompanied to the star-studded ceremony on Thursday night by his daughter, Anne, and his sister, May Magee, who flew over from Belfast for the occasion.

Speaking from his home yesterday, Mr McIlroy, who turns 83 next Saturday, said: “Of course I’m extremely proud of this. Before I picked it up there was a great buzz about the place. It was great to see Sir Bobby and have my family with me.”

He added: “I am thrilled to be chosen by the illustrious selection panel; it is truly an honour to be joining the Hall of Fame.”

Anne, 57, said she was amazed by the accolades her father had picked up in the last decade.

Mr McIlroy, a First Division champion with the Clarets in 1960, was awarded the freedom of Burnley borough in 2008 and received an MBE on the pitch at Turf Moor in 2011.

She said: “It’s amazing that he keeps getting awards and recognition even though it has been so many years since he played.

“It just goes to show that he is held in such high regard in both Burnley and Northern Ireland.”

Veronica Simpson, secretary of the Burnley FC Former Players’ Association, also attended the event and said it was an honour to see ‘The Prince of Inside Forwards’ inducted.

She said: “There was a ‘who’s who’ of football there and it made for a fabulous evening. With Jimmy’s family over and Sir Bobby sharing his memories, it was really great entertainment.

“Burnley FC sponsored a table and the club historian, Ray Simpson, was also there. It was a wonderful occasion.”

Ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Alan Shearer also finally collected his Hall of Fame gong, having been inducted in 2004.

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, England hero Michael Owen, former Birmingham striker Trevor Francis, Manchester United star Ray Wilkins, Matt Dimbylow, captain of the England Cerebral Palsy team,