The shadow youth team of one of East Lancashire's top flight football clubs had the chance to train with former England internationals as they paid a visit to their ground last week.

The Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team revelled in the rare opportunity to take part in a training session with England U21s coaches before getting a chance to put their football questions to their idols.

Head Coach Lee Carsley, alongside assistant coach Ashley Cole, and Joleon Lescott and Tim Dittmer, spent an afternoon at Soccer Burnley with the team.

The Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team (SYT) programme is delivered by Burnley FC in the Community staff in partnership with the Nelson and Colne College Group.

The programme gives talented young players between the ages of 16 and 18 the chance to combine academic studies with practical football experience and is designed to bridge the gap between grassroots and academy football.

One of the students who got to take part in the session was Isaac Williams.

He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interview and listen to former professionals.

"It was a surreal experience having them sat in front of us, engaging with us.

"It was an opportunity you wouldn't get with any other course.”

Alex Corps from the Nelson and Colne College Group said: “The students loved every minute of it.

"They were so excited to meet sporting stars who have accomplished so much in their football careers.”

And former Arsenal and Chelsea star Ashley Cole had plenty of praise for the club's work with the community and grassroot side of football.

Ashley, who won 107 caps for England, said: “I’ve had a really good day up here; I love what they're doing as a club.

“I think it’s really important bringing the community together and giving the young boys and girls an opportunity to live a dream.

“It’s been brilliant to come down and do some coaching, answer some questions and get to meet lots of different people.”

For more information on the Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team please contact head of football development, Chris Andrews, on