Wayne Rooney wants changes to festive fixture schedule

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney scored twice and created a goal for Robin van Persie in the 3-1 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has called for a change to the congested festive fixture list.

United manager Louis van Gaal said his team "struggled" during Sunday's goalless draw at Tottenham, which began just 43 hours after their 3-1 Boxing Day win over Newcastle.

England captain Rooney, 29, agreed the demands of the schedule had led to a decline in quality.

"Hopefully in the future it has to change," he said.

Rooney also suggested that fatigue may lead to a player being seriously injured.

On playing twice in three days between Boxing Day and Sunday, Rooney said: "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."

Manchester United's Christmas calendar
26 December: beat Newcastle (h) 3-1
28 December: drew with Tottenham (a) 0-0
1 January: v Stoke (a) 12:45 GMT
4 January: FA Cup third round v Yeovil (a) 15:30 GMT

United had the better of the first half at White Hart Lane, with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris making a series of saves to deny Robin van Persie, Rooney and Ashley Young, but Van Gaal's side faded noticeably in the second period.

"It is difficult. We started so well in the first half, but in the second half it was tough," Rooney said. "You do lose a lot of the quality from both teams."

Van Gaal described the congested Christmas schedule as "the culture of England",external-link but said after Sunday's draw in north London that it did not allow players enough rest.