Russo: Children can now idolise female players

Thursday 01 December 2022 15:00

Manchester United Women star Alessia Russo has described her immense pride towards football fans now being able to idolise female players, as well as men’s.

The Reds hero is the latest guest in our popular UTD Podcast series and, in an episode that has just dropped, she speaks passionately about how the women’s game has evolved in recent years.

Russo was a member of the England Women team that won the European Championship last summer and her backheeled goal in the semi-final was one of the year’s best across the game.

Since then, Alessia has been fully focused on shining with United Women and the 23-year-old scored a dramatic late winner last time out, to cap a 3-2 success over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium

Russo is now looking forward to impressing on the big stage once again, with Marc Skinner’s team preparing to host Aston Villa at Old Trafford this Saturday – tickets are still available to buy online.
In her compelling UTD Podcast, Alessia talks openly about her childhood heroes, the players she looks up to and how young players today can now look up to female stars.

“I have a few heroes,” says Russo. “I always supported United, but I had a lot of different idols. In the women's game I always loved Kelly Smith. In the men's game, I was always a big fan of Rooney actually and then I love Henry, Zidane, those kind of players. I mean, I try to watch as much football as I can and take bits of different people's games. As much as I don't want to say it on this podcast, I love watching Haaland at the minute. I know he is a Blue, but what a goalscorer, what a striker. Henry, I literally used to watch all of Arsenal's games even though I was a United fan. 
“I just love football and certain players. I guess, as a female growing up - times have changed a little bit now - but in my time you had to watch the men's game. If you wanted to watch females you had to actually be physically in the stadium, whereas now it is great how much the game has changed, it's on Sky and everything is accessible. When I was younger that wasn't the case. 

“That is one of our biggest things post the Euros. A lot of us, when you talk about idols, we refer to the men's game but now we hope that young boys and girls growing up can idolise a female player, and they don't have to be local, they don't have to go to every game, they can see them on TV, they can see them doing events, speaking. Not just players, coaches and referees, so girls can know there's always a route into the game and they can see them on the biggest stages.

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.

“I think it is really nice to see how times are changing. We often say as players that a lot of the work that players have done in the past - the likes of Rachel Yankey, Kelly Smith, Fara Williams - they were unbelievable players but it was just a little bit harder to get the exposure.

UTD Podcast: Who are Russo's idols? Video

UTD Podcast: Who are Russo's idols?

When Alessia was growing up, young girls could only watch the men's game - but times have completely changed...

“It is sad because they were such class players and they maybe weren't given all of the credit they deserve. I think now we have won the Euros, we have played at Wembley, the league is progressing really nicely, it is an exciting time to be involved in women's football.”

Tickets are still available to buy online for United Women v Aston Villa at Old Trafford this Saturday.

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