England and Manchester United captain, Wayne Rooney has thanked boss Louis Van Gaal for the Christams day off he gave the players to spend with their families.

United welcome Newcastle United on Boxing day, December 26 and the club should have been training for the clash on Christmas day.

"We're not training on Christmas Day this year because we'll be spending it at home, which will be good for the foreign players and those of us with children," said Rooney, the father of two sons.

"It must be strange for the new players to have more games than ever over Christmas, having had the time off previously.

"They have to adapt and be ready for it, while being aware of the fixture list. I'm sure they'll be prepared for the upcoming games."

The players resume action on Thursday when they play Alan Pardew's; with Rooney leading the pack after Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini were unable to shake off their injuries.

Daley Blind makes a comeback to the United team after six weeks absence following a knee injury.