FOOTBALL fever has gripped students at a pair of schools after visits from a Bolton Wanderers star and a Manchester United legend.

Year One children at Church Road Primary School, on Captains Clough Road, were shocked last Tuesday when Whites’ winger Yanic Wildschut appeared in class as a guest of honour.

The Dutch star came to see youngsters after their own visit to the University of Bolton Stadium, part of a scheme to help their studies.

“The children were delighted to spend an afternoon with Yanic to follow on from our stadium tour,” said Andrea Blackburn, a member of staff from Church Road.

“Our topic this half term is heroes and villains, and in line with that, we have been discussing what it takes to be a sporting hero.

“Yanic answered all the children’s questions, had individual photos and provided each child with a signed poster - with nearly 60 children to get though, he certainly was a hero.

“We are all very grateful to Yanic for taking the time to visit and inspire our children.”

On Monday, pupils at Essa Academy, on Lever Edge Lane, Great Lever, got in on the action, welcoming former Manchester United star Denis Irwin to launch a partnership with the club’s foundation.

Irwin - who played more than 350 games for United under the great Sir Alex Ferguson - answered questions for students, delivered an assembly and even played a game of football against children and staff.

Essa Academy principal Martin Knowles, said: “I am a strong believer that all students need a hook to allow them be become inspired to reach their potential, and with the global reach provided by Manchester United, and the opportunities which they can bring, this will inspire our students at Essa Academy to succeed.

“The launch, led by Denis Irwin, is one of many player visits which we will host over the forth-coming years. Denis proved to be an incredibly positive role model through his speech to the entire student body about the importance of education and his passion for Maths.

“The foundation is not all about football; it is about engagement at all levels and inspiring all young people to be the best they can be.”