Southampton winger Eljero Elia called in to answer the questions of some local schoolchildren at an educational workshop on Wednesday afternoon.
Pupils from St Mary’s Primary School, Springhill Catholic Primary School and Thornhill Primary School attended the event at St Mary’s, which was hosted by anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card.
And the children were invited to get involved and discuss issues surrounding racism before Saints star Elia stopped by to share his experiences with the youngsters, who also had the opportunity to put their own questions to the Holland international.
Elia then took the time to sign some posters for the kids and pose for a few photographs, and spoke of the importance of events such as this to educate the younger generation about discrimination, both in and out of football.
“I think, not only in football, but outside of football it's so, so important to cut racism out of the world,” said the 28-year-old.
“Everybody is the same, and I don’t care how much money you have, or what colour you are or anything else – I think racism has to go out of the whole world.
“As a football player, the kids and a lot of people look up to us. We are role models, so we have to show people what is the right choice in football to keep out the racism on the field and off the field.
“I hope that they learn a lot from what I say to them, and that racism is not allowed on the football field and that black or white, the colour doesn’t matter who it is, everybody’s the same, and I hope that they do good at school, learn and stay positive in life.”
Show Racism the Red Card’s Gavin Sutherland, who delivered the session, said visits from Premier League players such as Elia are key when it comes to educating schoolchildren on such an important social matter.
“We think working in partnership with football clubs to do this kind of work is really important,” he explained.
“Using footballers as role models has a positive impact on how young people view the issue of racism, and certainly I think days like today are really memorable for young people.”