Leeds United’s players brought festive cheer to the city’s sick kids with a Christmas visit to Leeds General Infirmary.
Nine members of the club’s first-team squad, including captain Liam Cooper and midfielder Samuel Saiz, spent time in a number of children’s wards yesterday as the countdown to Christmas entered its final week.
United’s squad have smiles on their faces after a run of four wins in six games and they delighted youngsters and hospital staff by taking a break from training ahead of Saturday’s clash with Hull City to hand out gifts and sign autographs.
Pontus Jansson, Luke Ayling, Felix Wiedwald and Pablo Hernandez were also present, along with two products of Leeds’ academy, Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips.
Left-back Gaetano Berardi said: “It’s good for the kids and like every year we were ready to come here and do something good for them.
“It’s not the best thing to see children like this but we’re always happy to do something that can help them.”
Cooper said: “The hospital visits are so important, especially at this time of year. It’s great to get out into the community as a team and meet all the patients and the staff.
“It’s great to see the kid’s faces light up when they see us and when we’re able to hand over a gift to them.”
United’s annual visit to the LGI came at a time when the club are back in contention for a Championship play-off place. The club will spend Christmas Day in the top six if they beat Hull at Elland Road this weekend.
Hernandez said: “It makes you realise what’s important and I’m glad I was able to do the visit. I’m sure we’ve helped brighten up some of the children’s days and I hope their Christmas is a little bit better now.”
This was the second visit by a major sporting team to the Leeds General Infirmary. Last week the Leeds Rhinos squad headed to the Leeds Children’s Hospital at the Leeds General Infirmary to help spread some festive cheer amongst the youngsters. On their visit, the squad caught up with young Rugby League player Reagan Tolson, who is recovering from a road accident. The Bradford Bulls scholarship player was boosted by the visit from the players.