FOOTBALLING legend John Barnes paid a visit to a school to help inspire and motivate students.

Students from Blackburn Central High School listened to the former Liverpool and England player discuss his career and life while others took part in a football training scheme.

Mr Barnes, who is now a pundit for ESPN and SuperSport, also signed autographs and took selfies with students at the Haslingden Road school.

Raja Farooq, ICT teacher, said: "He spoke to a number of our students in year 11 and was able to do some training with year nine and 10s.

"He also gave out awards as part of the John Barnes programme.

"He was inspiring them by talking about his childhood and the tribulations through his career - how he persevered and kept on going.

"He told them whatever goals they set they can achieve. It is a matter of persevering and trying your best.

"The kids were fully engaged and he signed autographs and took selfies with them.

"He was a great speaker because they could relate to him. He was really able to get on their level by being comical but also getting the message across."

Addressing the students, Mr Barnes told them about the importance of being a team player.

He said: "The biggest lesson I learnt at Liverpool was that the team is the superstar and all the players are little starlets. There are no individual superstars in football.

"It is about the team so that for me was the most important thing - how the team performs."

Mr Barnes cited footballers such as Ronaldo and Steven Gerrard but failed to name a Blackburn Rovers player.

"When you mention anything I have achieved it was not necessarily because of the talent. Talent is important but what vehicle do you use to carry that talent? The vehicle you use to carry any talent is the mentality - discipline and hard work," he said.

He added the youngster's heroes got where they are not just because of talent but because of the hard work they put in.

"Being bright at school is not enough. If you're bright and you don't put the work in day by day to prepare yourself for your exams, you may pass but you won't maximise your potential and do as well as you can."