A group of Ukrainian children have been able to meet their heroes as part of a visit to the Brighton and Hove Albion training ground.

The group of 15 refugees visited the training ground as part of an initiative with Albion in the Community where they met manager Roberto De Zerbi and several of the players.

After taking part in some football drills, the children also met Albion stars including Leandro Trossard and Adam Lallana and spent time chatting to the players shortly before their decisive 4-1 win over Graham Potter’s Chelsea.

One child, Valentine, eight, who now lives in Hove, said: "It was very, very magical [to meet Trossard], he is my favourite player. I have lived here for four months and this was a special day for me."

The refugees were able to meet the players and manager as an increasing number of Ukrainian refugees are getting involved with Albion in the Community sessions.

The Argus: Manager Roberto De Zerbi, centre, with the refugeesManager Roberto De Zerbi, centre, with the refugees (Image: Albion in the Community)

The visit was also particularly special to manager De Zerbi due to his links to Ukraine having previously managed Shakhtar Donetsk. The Italian led the team to the top of the Ukrainian Premier League shortly before the conflict began.

The manager was taken to a bomb shelter in Kyiv with his squad where they remained until all of the international players had safely been evacuated from the country.

De Zerbi said: "It was wonderful to have the chance to meet this amazing group of children.

"I am so glad that they are happy and safe here in Sussex and enjoying themselves playing football with Albion in the Community."

“I was very happy to see them because I am linked to Ukraine and its population. I was sad that they had to leave because the situation there was too bad so it was nice for the kids to see the players in their jerseys, because they have had a hard time.”

Matt Dorn, Albion in the Community chief executive, added: "Albion in the Community is all about creating opportunities and giving people access to partaking football.

“Today was a fantastic opportunity for the children. It's one of those things they'll take away and remember forever."