Last updated : 16 December 2004 By editor

The Sun reports that Gabriel Heinze will be allowed a break over the Christmas period, after he revealed that – as a devout Catholic – the idea of playing over the festive period didn’t appeal to him.

Fergie is happy to let him have a holiday, and will give John O’Shea a recall to cover for him, “When you see the improvement O’Shea has made in training and strength-wise, it is remarkable. For 2½ years we played him all the time in different positions, sometimes with injuries, simply because we had to.

“Rio Ferdinand was suspended, Mikael Silvestre was out with an injury, so was Gary Neville and Wes Brown — and really the boy has done fantastically well. Now having given him a break, he looks a different player completely. He is fresh and strong and he has been terrific in training.”