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HomeWomen's FootballAlessia Russo tells of her World Cup dream with the Lionesses

Alessia Russo tells of her World Cup dream with the Lionesses

England striker Alessia Russo tells of her experience of being called up to the Lionesses squad for the first time and how she manages the stereotypes associated with her.

Over the past few years, the 24-year-old forward Alessia Russo has experienced a remarkable rise to fame. She began her career at Chelsea and Brighton before joining Manchester United in 2020. Russo quickly made a name for herself at United, becoming a key player for the team and earning a regular spot in the England national team. Throughout this summer, she has been consistently making headlines.

Following the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, where Russo scored 10 goals in 20 Women’s Super League matches, she left Manchester United as a free agent. Reports are suggesting that she will join Arsenal for the upcoming campaign. However, at the moment, her primary focus is on international matters as England prepares for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Russo hopes to play a significant role in England’s pursuit of glory, adding to her already remarkable career achievements.

Russo didn’t always feel destined for stardom, though: “People would laugh because the chances of making it are slim, but especially as a girl I think people just thought it was a bit of a joke. Around 16 I realised it could actually be a career.”

She said: “You’re always stereotyped when you’re a girl playing football, people telling you its a boy’s sport and we should be doing other things, but it didn’t really affect me when I was a young kid and again now doesn’t really bother me because you can see the respect that women’s football has in the world today. It was a long time coming but women’s football has finally been given the stage it deserves.”

Phil Neville gave Alessia Russo her first chance to appear for Lionesses

Phil Neville gave Russo her first chance in the Lionesses set-up, and she remembers the exact moment that the former England boss called to give her the good news.

“I was in a geology class in America, I went to university out there for three years,” said Russo. “I looked at my phone and I had a missed call from Phil Neville, so I left the class to go and ring him back, and he told me that I was going to the SheBelieves Cup. Originally it was a training player and then someone got injured so I went in as a full squad player, and he gave me my debut at the tournament. I don’t think I went back to class.”

The England national team faces an injury crisis, with players such as Beth Mead and Leah Williamson ruled out of the World Cup. Alessia Russo acknowledges that the upcoming tournament will present a different and unique set of challenges compared to the European Championships.

She has no doubt that Sarina Wiegman will have the squad ready to compete, though, and is relishing the prospect of playing against the very best teams on the biggest stage in the game. “I anticipate that this summer is going to be very different, we’re the other side of the world and it’s not a home Euros anymore, which is okay,” said Russo.

“New challenge, new experience, I’ve never been to a World Cup, that first and foremost will be special. I don’t think the standard of the women’s game has ever been higher so there are going to be lots of teams going there to win it. But I’m sure we’ll be ready and firing and ready to go.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.


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