24/12/2010 18:17, Report by Steve Bartram

Christmas at the office

One of the rare and minor downsides of professional football in England is the need to head into the office on Christmas Day.

With Sunderland due at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, Sir Alex Ferguson's squad will be put through their paces while the majority of the country is indulging in festive excesses - not that the players are complaining.

“It could be seen as a sacrifice but, do you know what? It’s something I’ve done every year since I was 16 and I left school," Michael Carrick told United Review. "I moved to London to be at West Ham and that’s just how it’s been. It feels normal."

"Luckily now I have kids who get up very early," adds Rio Ferdinand. "They open their presents before I go into training. We go back home and have Christmas dinner but you can't have as much as you would like. You have to chill out. We go to a hotel in the evening.

"Christmas is not the same when you play football. But I have many more years to look forward to. I enjoy playing football too much to worry about it."

Sir Alex, whose birthday celebrations on New Year's Eve are also invariably affected by the festive fixture list, feels his players quietly enjoy coming into Carrington for relative relaxation.

The Boss says: "I think some of them are happy to spend some time away from their kids for a while! They enjoy the training session and then go back home for the rest of the day."


Premier League