Is Alessia Russo a future England captain? Departing Man Utd striker talks Lionesses leadership role and looking good on and off the pitch

Alessia Russo Rachel Daly England 2023Getty
  • Formed part of Euros triumph
  • Set to grace 2023 World Cup
  • Making a change at club level

WHAT HAPPENED? Russo is preparing to make a change at club level after opting against the signing of a new contract at Manchester United, with her considerable talents about to be taken to Arsenal. She also has another shot at international glory to take in this summer, on the back of European Championship glory in 2022, and will head to the 2023 World Cup having been named Player of the Year at the inaugural Women’s Football Awards.

WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed by Women’s Health on whether she wants to take the Lionesses’ armband at some stage after becoming a prominent part of that set-up, Russo said: “I don't know if I'm ever going to be a leader in the sense of a captain. But I think I can lead in other ways, whether that's leading from the front, leading in my actions, in how I train, how I play, I'm not the most vocal person; I like to just do things instead.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Russo has become an inspiration to millions around the world – and was the subject of a world-record bid from Arsenal in January – and she intends to set a good example with her exploits on and off the pitch. She added on the challenges that those in the women’s game face, with a food tracker forming part of her routine at one stage: “There's a bit of a stigma because, of course, you want to compete and be the best on the pitch, but you want to look a certain way as well. As a lot of young girls [do], I wanted to be skinny and compete at that kind of level. I know some people still use [the food app], but...I was at a low point with my food and with my weight. I wasn't strong enough; I wasn't robust. I thought I looked great... but really, on the football pitch, I wasn't strong enough to compete.”

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She went on to say: “[Now] my body is still a huge priority. But I understand I need to eat a lot more than I thought I did at the start, and now I don't want to be skinny, I want to be strong. Food plays a huge part in how you feel and how your body reacts. I'm into make-up, I like getting my nails done, my hair could ask male footballers the same thing: they like to get dressed up and, get their hair cut all the time. Just because we play a sport that's aggressive and contact [that] doesn't mean we don't like to pamper ourselves…[I'm] an athlete, but I'm also a young girl who likes to engage in that side of it as well.”


Alessia Russo England 2023Getty

Alessia Russo EnglandGetty

WHAT NEXT? England, who have added the Finalissima crown to their Euros title in 2023, are due to begin their quest for World Cup glory against Haiti on July 22.