Premier League clubs have reiterated their commitment to supporting their local communities with the return of their traditional festive visits to local hospitals to meet patients and staff who cannot be at home over the Christmas period.
Emile Smith Rowe joined fellow Arsenal men's and women's stars such as Aaron Ramsdale, Jordan Nobbs, and Oleksandr Zinchenko to visit Homerton, Whittington and Royal Free hospitals, handing out presents and spending time with the young patients and their families.
Sharing Christmas joy at local hospitals ❤️— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 23, 2022
Our men’s and women’s first team came together with staff to give back to the community 💪 pic.twitter.com/QSy16VO0tQ
"It's absolutely great to come down and see the kids," Lallana told the official club website. "To put a smile on their faces is the least we can do just before Christmas. It puts things into perspective for all of us."
Spreading special festive cheer at Christmas. 🎁 pic.twitter.com/tExbcrvGET— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 20, 2022
Staff and patients at Compton Care, which supports people with incurable conditions, were delighted to welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers' first-team players including Nathan Collins and Maximilian Kilman. They handed out gifts, as well as blankets and scarves for the inpatient unit, meeting those who were well enough in person.
It was brilliant to return to @AlderHey this year, alongside @Everton, to spread festive cheer 💫— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 21, 2022
It’s always a special day to surprise so many brave patients and their families ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8jNKAFnCEm
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin fulfilled a year-long promise when he made a surprise Christmas visit to Everton supporter Dylan.
Calvert-Lewin first chatted with Dylan last year, when the 14-year-old had undergone a nine-hour emergency operation to deal with a brain aneurysm, which left him needing rehabilitation to assist with his mobility, speech and eyesight.
They could only speak remotely because of COVID-19 restrictions but this year, Calvert-Lewin made sure he was able to meet Dylan in person.
Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz proved a big hit too, as he and his partner Sophia Weber donated their own gifts of club shirts, toys and games to bring a smile to the faces of patients, their parents and staff at St Mary’s Hospital.
Manchester United's Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford were among the players to film video messages and pack gift bags for patients, staff and families at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Francis House Children’s Hospice and The Christie.
Our hearts are full ❤️— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 22, 2022
With special thanks to @MU_Foundation for keeping the Christmas spirit alive to those in need...
➖ @RMCHCharity & @MFT_Charity
➖ @TheChristieNHS#MUFC pic.twitter.com/qwaZwuAhV8
"Supporting those in our local community is one of the most important things that we do as players and staff at Manchester United, especially around Christmas time," Maguire told the official club website.
"For us, sending well wishes and packing gifts for the hospitals, putting smiles on people's faces is really important."
Leeds United players helped to lift the spirits of patients, their families, and staff at Leeds Children's Hospital.
The players handed out goody bags, which included books, teddy bears, hats and scarves as well as chatting to the young patients and their loved ones.
"This is always a special visit for us to be a part of, the chance to meet and hopefully put smiles on the faces of some kids and their families who have been going through difficult times, especially at this time of year, I think it's really important," defender Luke Ayling told the club's official website.
"It really puts things into perspective when you realise that some people won't be able to spend Christmas at home, whether it’s the patients or the staff, so hopefully our visit today has let them know that we are thinking about them."