Manchester United and England star Alessia Russo has insisted that fame has not changed her in the wake of her starring role at Euro 2022 and increasing prominence as one of the faces of the WSL.
Russo had a breakout season with United in 2021/22, scoring nine times in the WSL, before going on to play every game as England won Euro 2022 – her semi-final backheel goal against Sweden has even been nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award.
Despite, suffering an injury in October, the 23-year-old has also gone from strength to strength since returning to club duty and is United’s top scorer with five WSL goals – including another in her team’s 6-0 demolition of Liverpool on Sunday.
Even with things like an appearance on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast under her belt, Russo insists that she doesn’t feel any different in herself and is determined to stay that way.
“No. That’s what I find weird about it all,” Russo told Forbes when asked if fame has changed her.
“I still see myself as Alessia. I grew up in a little town. My family are so close to me, I think that’s a credit to all of them, and myself I guess,” she added.
“I’m a very light-hearted kind of person, but I have really high expectations. Even awards like [the Puskas], it still feels weird to be nominated.
“I hope to go on and achieve a lot more than just this. As a female footballer and just the person I am, I have to stay grounded and have bigger dreams to fill. You don’t ever really have a chance to get ahead of yourself.”
As things stand, Russo is due to be out of contract and could find herself the most in demand free agent on the market come the summer. But United are still working hard to tie her to a new contract, having already agreed fresh terms with Ella Toone this season, although whether or not the club reaches the Champions League for the first time could eventually come into it.
After the latest round of fixtures, United sit second in the WSL table, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, only three points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, a three-point cushion over Manchester City and arguably the most favourable remaining fixtures of any of the top four.