Children spending time in a Hampstead hospital ward in the run-up to Christmas have been surprised by some of the most famous football players in the world.

Arsenal’s Martin Ødegaard, Mohamed Elneny, Jakub Kimor and Ben White, made the visit to the Royal Free Hospital in recent days.

The Gunners stars delivered Christmas gifts and posed for photos with children, families and staff.

Joseph Addae, a 14-year-old super fan, said: “Meeting players from the men’s team was a great surprise and it was incredible to see them in person not on the TV.

“They are great guys and an inspiration.”

Ham & High: Players handed out Christmas gifts on a children's ward at the Royal FreePlayers handed out Christmas gifts on a children's ward at the Royal Free (Image: Royal Free Hospital)

Keen footballer Nirali, 10, from Woodside Park, was overjoyed to be introduced to her sporting heroes.

Her father Rahul said: “It was really special. It’s not ideal that Nirali is in hospital and had to miss Christmas jumper day at school but this has certainly brightened her day.”

Arsenal fan Myles and his dad, Barry, were delighted to see their team in action off the pitch.

He admitted that he cannot wait to show off his new Arsenal hat, signed by skipper Martin Ødegaard, to his classmates.

Siobhan McCurry, play specialist at the Royal Free Hospital, said: “It was great that the players could come and see us.

“It’s lovely for the children here to get a nice pick-me-up ahead of Christmas and they brought so many smiles to the children and staff on the ward.”