Alessia Russo: England and Arsenal star’s football family and career to date

Arsenal’s new signing looking to replace Ellen White as Lionesses’ primary goal threat

Joe Sommerlad
Saturday 22 July 2023 11:53 BST
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With the retirement of England’s record goalscorer Ellen White in the wake of last summer’s Euros triumph, much of the responsibility for providing the side’s attacking threat could now fall upon the shoulders of Alessia Russo.

Russo, 24, who has just moved from Manchester United to Arsenal on a free transfer, grew in influence as that tournament progressed, regularly emerging from the bench to replace White and scoring twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Northern Ireland, as well as netting arguably the goal of the tournament in the semi-final: an utterly outrageous backheel to embarrass Sweden.

Born and raised in Maidstone, Kent, Russo is of Sicillian heritage and took to football from an early age, both her father Mario and older brother Giorgio having played at non-league level.

Rising through the youth ranks of first Charlton Athletic and then Chelsea, she briefly appeared for Brighton and Hove Albion in 2017 before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she spent two years playing college soccer for the North Carolina Tar Heels alongside Lotte Wubben-Moy, scoring an impressive 28 goals across 58 games over two seasons before having to curtail her time in the United States because of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Subsequently signing for Manchester United, she has scored 22 goals in 48 games for the Red Devils over the last three seasons, form that has earned her the attention of Sarina Wiegman and a move to the multiple title-winners, where she will link up next season with Lionesses’s teammates Leah Williamson, Wubben-Moye and Beth Mead and European greats Vivianne Miedema and Stina Blackstenius.

The goalscoring form of both Rachel Daly and Bethany England last season means Russo’s place in the starting lineup as White’s natural replacement is by no means a given, however.

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