Inside Christmas Day for footballer players – including training and dinner

The festive period looks very different for Premier League footballers, with Boxing Day fixtures heavily affecting how they spend their Christmas.

While they are often able to enjoy the big day with their family, some have to spend Christmas night in a hotel after travelling for an away match.

Others are unable to eat as much of their Christmas dinner and have to refrain from joining their friends and family when it comes to drinking.

But what exactly do Premier League footballers do on Christmas Day? Here, Daily Star Sport has a look, from morning training to their Christmas dinner.

The clubs that play on Boxing Day will train on Christmas Day, with those playing away the next day travelling later in the evening and spending Christmas night in a hotel.

Former Newcastle United keeper Shay Given told the Irish Independent in 2017 that: “When you look at the fixtures as a player you’re looking at Boxing Day and New Years’ Day, to see ‘are we home or away’.

“There was a period where Newcastle had about seven or eight consecutive away games on Boxing Day. It felt like we’d been totally jinxed!”

As for those clubs with home matches on Boxing Day, they will spend Christmas Day with their families after training in the morning.

On the Christmas experience for footballers, Jamie Carragher said: “You just get used to it.

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“The worst is when you are away from home but you always train on Christmas Day.

“If it is a home game, it was almost a case of getting in as early as you can, 9-10 and then get back home.

“The away one, you’d be in a hotel on Christmas night, you’d train later in the day. Normally the fixtures mean you wouldn’t be too far away.”

Once back home with their families, footballer's are allowed to eat Christmas dinner, but are forced to refrain from drinking alcohol.

Carragher added: “A lot of family could never get their heads around it.

“They’d be like have a drink! And we’d be like ‘got a game’ but it didn’t bother me too much.

“One drink or something isn’t going to do absolutely anything but I’d never drink at Christmas.

“I don’t understand having one or two – go out and have a good drink or what is the point? I’ve never drank in the house, ever.”

Meanwhile, Given explained he would just stick to water on Christmas Day.

“I wouldn’t be drinking, and I’d be having smaller plates than everyone else," he added.

“They’d be cracking open a few drinks whereas I’d be on the water.”

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has also lifted the lid on being a footballer at Christmas during the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaking to The Sun in 2019, he said: “It’s weird, when you drive on Christmas morning there’s no-one there – it’s beautiful. Everyone’s really nice, people wave to you in the cars because it’s Christmas morning… even Spurs fans!”

“But when you get to training it’s all the same – all the guys have just left their families and it’s just one of those things that you get used to as the years go by.”

As for Christmas dinner, he added: “You can eat anything you want really – Arsene Wenger was a little bit less keen on it, but he always wanted us to eat together.

“We’d have turkey when we got to the team hotel – but we just had to have bucket loads of broccoli!”

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