COLCHESTER United icon Lomana Tresor Lua Lua met budding young players and their parents during a whirlwind trip back to north Essex.

The former flying winger dropped in at the town's SCS Academy, which is run by friend and former U's youth-teamer Angelo Harrop.

Lua Lua is regarded as one of the most explosive, talented players to wear the famous blue and white of Colchester.

He netted 21 goals in 68 appearances and his dazzling displays out wide prompted Newcastle United to sign him for £2.25 million in September 2000.

Lua Lua caught up with SCS company director Harrop and paid a visit to the football academy's headquarters at the Stanway School.

He has also agreed to become an academy ambassador.

"It was a fantastic night for everyone involved," said head coach Luke Watts.

"I’m not sure who was more excited - the children or the parents.

"For me, Lomana is the biggest-ever player to grace the field at Colchester United.

"For him to come to our academy and talk so highly of the centre is a big achievement."

Lua Lua, who went on to play for Portsmouth after leaving Newcastle, is setting up his own football foundation back home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It should be finished and ready by July 2020, giving young players a chance to play football alongside enhancing their education.

"It was amazing to see what’s going on at the SCS academy," said Lua Lua, now 39.

"It’s run so well and I'd say it’s as good as any professional football academy.

"It’s a great environment for children to learn and improve and it’s never too late to get picked up.

"I'm a perfect example as I was 16 when I got my first breakthrough into professional football (after being spotted by Colchester scout Geoff Harrop, while playing college football in London).

"The children are being given the best support and training, to give them the best possible opportunity to go on and play at the highest of standards."