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Alessia Russo: Manchester United boss Casey Stoney key to England forward signing

Alessia Russo
Alessia Russo made her England debut against Spain in March

England forward Alessia Russo says Manchester United manager Casey Stoney’s vision for the club inspired her to join the Red Devils this summer.

The 21-year-old has signed a two-year contract, plus a further year’s option, with the Women’s Super League side.

She arrives after spending three years at North Carolina Tar Heels, studying at the University of North Carolina.

“I first spoke to Casey [Stoney] in the summer and her vision was really inspiring and reeled me in,” she said.

“I’ve always been a fan of Manchester United and, now they’ve got a women’s team, I can’t wait to start.

“I would love to compete for trophies for Manchester United, that’s always been my ambition. To compete for [a place in the] Champions League, I think that’s our target, so there’s a big season ahead,” the ex-Chelsea youngster, who was named in England’s latest squad on Tuesday, told BBC Sport.

Russo, who BBC Sport understands had been monitored by scouts representing several WSL clubs in the past three years, scored 28 goals in 57 appearances for her college side in the United States.

She believes that time will have aided her development, adding: “Playing in America was a great experience, I loved every minute of it. Playing and adapting to the American style, I think it is what I needed in my game.

“They’re very based on their athleticism, their power and their strength, so it was good to add another aspect in to my game.”

‘Hard to put England call-up in to words’

Russo’s move across the Atlantic comes shortly after United announced deals for World Cup-winning USA forwards Tobin Heath and Christen Press, who were unveiled on Wednesday, and Russo is excited to play alongside them this term.

“To learn from two world champions, what more could you ask for? The level of the league this year is fantastic,” she continued.

Capped at every age group by England, Russo won bronze at the 2018 Under-20 World Cup and made her senior England debut in March, before her latest call up.

“It’s hard to put in to words, but it’s an honour to be called in,” Russo added. “I’m really excited to be back involved the with squad. It’s like all your hard work begins to pay off.”

United travel to Birmingham City in their second game of the WSL season on Sunday [14:00 BST].

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