Russo: Injuries helped make me who I am

Friday 02 December 2022 08:37

Manchester United Women forward Alessia Russo explains that the hamstring injury she suffered shortly after becoming a Red was “an important learning curve” in her young career.

Alessia arrived at United in September 2020 but would unfortunately suffer the season-ending problem just a few weeks later. 

The England international had surgery to fix the issue before making her return to action after a lengthy wait last season, featuring in every fixture across all competitions and becoming the Reds’ top scorer in the process.

She would then, of course, go on to play a vital role in the Lionesses’ European Championship success over the summer, before bringing her goalscoring exploits back to United in the early part of this season.

Alessia Russo - “The game has changed”


In this unmissable episode, United Women striker Alessia Russo discusses the experience of playing for the Reds, previews the upcoming WSL match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford, and reveals exactly what it is like to win the Euros with England. Sam Homewood, David May and Helen Evans chat to Alessia about her football journey, the monumental shift in women's football over the last decade, and why it is important for that growth to continue. Russo reveals her sporting idols and discusses her hobbies and pastimes too, as you get to know what Alessia is like, away from simply scoring bags of goals on the pitch.

Speaking in a new episode of the UTD Podcast in which she starred on, Alessia discussed how the lengthy hamstring injury has made her appreciate the opportunities she gets in her career.

“It was really tough and looking back, I think that’s what makes moments now and the Euros so special because it makes me now never take a session or a game for granted because it actually happened in training as well,” she explained in the podcast, which you can now listen to in the United App.

“Now when I get to train and get to do a rondo or small-sided games, I just love it. I think as much as you never want to have to go through that, it’s made me the player and person I am today. I had to learn so much about myself. 

“Although I broke my leg in college, it was a really smooth recovery. It was a leg break, I know it sounds bad but once it’s healed, it’s healed. It’s not the case with muscles.”

Alessia also discussed that college leg break with co-hosts Helen Evans, Sam Homewood and David May, explaining how it helped her build the mental strength to come back from the absence caused by the hamstring issue later in her career.

She says that she is now in a better place for these challenges, and now sees them as valuable lessons which only enhanced her reslience.

“As much as I’m not grateful for it, I am now," she said. “It’s football. You’re going to get hurt at some point and you have to deal with it. We play at a high level every day and you test your body. 

“It’s made me change myself, my routines, in pre-act, to recover. Maybe I wouldn’t have learned those things if I hadn’t gone through it.”

Last season, having returned to the pitch, Russo's efforts were recognised by her team-mates as she was voted United Women’s Players’ Player of the Season. 

She says that it was an honour to receive this award, with her being so focused on doing her bit for the team and making up for any lost time from the year before.

“I just wanted to play and obviously get better, but also enjoy it because I’d been through such a hard year the year before. 

“Just coming to the club as well, I played four games and got injure,  so I wanted to prove myself and be involved in the team. I just wanted to keep myself going throughout. 

Russo explains thinking of backheel goal


Alessia discusses her instantly iconic Euro 2022 effort against Sweden on the UTD Podcast.

“I was available for every game and that to me was the bigger reward because I just wanted to offer myself to the team and give back because I was injured the year before. 

“It showed that what I was doing was working, my routines, the way I’ve had to adapt has worked and it will be something I’ll add into my career for life. Just little exercises, little recovery methods, I think it was an important learning curve.”

You can now listen to the full Alessia Russo UTD Podcast episode in the United App.