YOUTH team players at Queens Park Rangers football club were given an insight into life on a construction site at HS2’s Old Oak Common superhub station.

A party of 22 scholars were invited to see how the new HS2 station, just two miles from Loftus Road, is beginning to take shape.

A workforce of almost 30,000 are currently helping to build HS2, and the tour gave youngsters a chance to learn more about other careers.

Emmanuel Afolabi, founder of The Fest Hub, which bridges the gap between sport and education for young footballers, helped organise the visit.

Now a civil engineer, he established the community interest company after his own dream of becoming a professional stalled.

The former Charlton Athletic Academy player, who trained alongside Joe Gomez, now of Liverpool, and Ezri Konsa, now with Aston Villa, witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of being released by a professional club.

He said: “It’s vital we do more to inspire these young people. The harsh reality is they won’t all make it as pro-footballers and we need to prepare and support them for that moment.”

Jabari Christmas, 17, who was in the party, said: “If football doesn’t work out for me, then I’ll need to consider my options. I can see how HS2 and construction work of this kind could be an option.”

Derek Luzinda, also 17, said: “A lot of the time you play football you have a tunnel vision mindset. Coming here today has broadened my mindset.

“It’s helped me to think about life beyond football.”