Football: Rooney calls for festive fixture rethink, warns 'bad injuries' to players

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (left) challenges Tottenham Hotspur's Andros Townsend during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London Dec 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (left) challenges Tottenham Hotspur's Andros Townsend during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London Dec 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has added his voice to calls for changes to the English Premier League's breathless festive fixture schedule, in comments reported by several British newspapers on Tuesday.

Rooney scored twice in United's 3-1 win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day, lined up for the 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur less than 48 hours later, and is due to feature against Stoke City on New Year's Day.

Europe's other major leagues are currently enjoying a mid-season break and England's traditional festive programme has come under attack, with Sunderland coach Gus Poyet describing it as "a disgrace".

Rooney said: "It is not easy playing two games in two days and you do lose a lot of the quality from both teams.

"It is difficult. We started so well in the first half (against Tottenham), but in the second half it was tough and hopefully in the future it has to change.

"It will probably take someone getting a really bad injury from doing it, which no-one wants to see, but it is very demanding and I think it does need looking at.

"With the weather as well, with the fans coming from London or travelling from Manchester, it has been tough. It is a lot of money to spend over Christmas as well.

"But it is what it is. We have to deal with that and have to try and perform well."