Alessia Russo: Things to Know About Manchester United's New Signing

Alessia Russo
Manchester United have signed Alessia Russo | Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Alessia Russo on a two-year deal, bringing their hugely successful transfer window to a very exciting end.

The Red Devils have already brought in World Cup winners and all round football icons Tobin Heath and Christen Press, in addition to England international Lucy Staniforth. Ona Batlle, who joined the club from Levante, enjoyed an impressive debut against Chelsea on Sunday.

So just who is Alessia Russo, and what can United fans expect from their latest new recruit?

Prestigious College Career

Russo has spent the last three years playing college football in the United States. And not for any old college either.

The forward earned numerous individual accolades, scored 28 goals and grabbed nine assists in 57 appearances for the North Carolina Tar Heels - one of the most iconic and successful teams in women's football. The college has a lengthy list of decorated alumnus, including Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Lucy Bronze, Heather O'Reilly and Russo's new United teammate Tobin Heath.

No pressure there then.

Brighton History Maker

The 2020/21 season will not be Russo's first taste of senior domestic football in England.

Having started her career with Charlton and then Chelsea, the 21-year-old signed for Brighton in 2017. She played for the Seagulls - then a Championship side - during the 2017 Spring Series.

This was Brighton's debut season in the second tier, and Russo had the honour of scoring Brighton's first ever goal in the division on her league debut for the club during a 1-1 draw with London Bees.

United Through & Through

Russo has secured a dream move by signing for United, having been brought up a Red Devils supporter.

Her Italian grandfather fell in love with the club's famous Busby Babes side when he moved to England in the 1950s, and this has been passed down through the family. ever since.

"I come from a family of Manchester United supporters," Russo told the Manchester United website after signing. "It’s a dream to now say I am part of this great club."

International Pedigree

Alessia Russo
Russo has one senior international appearance to her name | Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Russo has progressed through each of the England youth ranks, scoring goals at every level.

The athletic forward scored a crucial last gasp equaliser in England's opening group match against North Korea at the 2016 Under-17 World Cup, and was the Lionesses top scorer at the Under 17 European Championships that same year with five goals.

Russo was called into Phil Neville's senior squad for the Lionesses 2020 SheBelieves Cup campaign, and made her debut against Spain - just 14 days after her 21st birthday.

Highly Rated By the Very Best

Anson Dorrance
Dorrance is a college coaching great | John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Legendary coach Anson Dorrance has led North Carolina Tar Heels' esteemed football programme since 1979, and also happened to guide the USWNT to their inaugural World Cup triumph in 1991. He coached Russo during her college career, and was full of high praise for the forward.

"We knew Alessia was a jewel before she got here,” Dorrance told Our Game Mag in 2017. “We saw her with the English national youth teams playing our U.S. youth teams in California in February of 2016, so we knew she could play.

"There are many wonderful things about her and her game, but what all of us appreciate the most is how humble this superstar is."

Master Chef Credentials

Being a top level footballer is a demanding business, but fortunately Russo has her own team of nutritionists. And by team of nutritionists, we mean her aunt and nan, who made their own two minute cooking show in the early stages of lockdown.

Our favourite exchange?

Nan: "I'm going to have a nice glass of wine."

Aunt: "You can't have wine because we're trying to detox."

Nan: "Okay...a nice gin and tonic?"