THE women footballers of Manchester United have spread Christmas joy at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital on their annual festive trip to the wards.

Head coach Casey Stoney led the full squad accompanied by management staff, giving out United-themed presents, including footballs, hats, scarves and signed pennants, much to the delight of youngsters facing Christmas away from home.

Casey said: “It’s difficult for families to be in hospital at any time of year but at Christmas it’s exceptionally difficult, so for us to come here, give out some gifts and meet the children and see the smiles on their faces is great.”

United Women’s captain Katie Zelem added: “It’s amazing that we can come down and get involved; it’s a long-term tradition for Manchester United and now that the women can come down it’s great for all the little girls and boys to see that we’re here to support them.”

Six-year-old Theo was thrilled to meet members of the women’s team, who spent time in the play room with him and delivered gifts. He said: “They gave me some presents and played with my cars and gave me a hug. It’s been really fun and it’s made me really happy.”

Over the festive period the Manchester United first team will also be visiting children’s hospitals across Greater Manchester, spreading joy to those who need it most at this time of year.

The Christmas hospital visits are organised by Manchester United Foundation. For more information please visit