England forward Alessia Russo is set to take centre stage at the Women's Euros – but she's not the first goal-grabbing star in her family.
The 23-year-old has followed in the footsteps of her dad Mario, a former copper who played non-league football for Metropolitan Police FC. During his near 18-year spell with the club he established himself as their record goalscorer, and still is to this day.
Alessia has gone on to surpass his achievements, joining the family's beloved Manchester United in 2020 and topping their scoring charts last season with 11 strikes in 30 appearances. She was subsequently awarded Players' Player of the Year.
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Her club form has seen her break through into the England squad. And she's already got an international record to her name after bagging an 11-minute hat-trick – the quickest in England history – in a 20-0 World Cup qualifier win over Latvia last November.
Heading into the first game of the Euros against Austria tonight (July 6), Alessia has put herself in contention to start ahead of legendary striker Ellen White. And it all stems back to Mario forcing her to play the beautiful game growing up alongside brothers Luca and Giorgio.
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“Alessia had no option but to play football – it was non-negotiable,” he told Our Game Mag in 2017. “She was used as the goalkeeper, the defender, the player to get nutmegged, the player to get two-footed.”
Mario first took her along to the local team he was coaching but then moved her on to a more advanced boys team, which prompted "strange looks" from the other parents.
They soon understood why, though, as Alessia starred for Bearsted FC. It lead to a break at Charlton Athletic before she joined Chelsea.
After a short spell at Brighton, Alessia moved to the US to play college soccer, a decision which provided her with the launch pad for her career. Meanwhile, Luca went on to focus on track and field while Giorgio has also played non-league football for several Kent-based sides.
The whole family will be watching on this evening as England kick-off their Euros campaign at a familiar stomping ground for Alessia, Old Trafford.
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