Manchester United forward Alessia Russo has withdrawn from the England Women squad for this month’s international friendly against Germany as a result of injury, and has been replaced in the 28-player group by club-mate Katie Zelem.
The game against Germany is on Tuesday 27th October in the city of Wiesbaden, with England players first meeting for a mini training camp at St George’s Park. They will travel to Germany next week.
Russo scored a hat-trick in United’s 4-2 WSL win over West Ham on Sunday, but a thigh problem has cruelly forced her to pull out of international duty.
The 21-year-old, who returned to club football England this year after completing a three-year stint playing college soccer in the United States with the legendary UNC Tar Heels, made her Lionesses debut in the SheBelieves Cup back in March.
The news comes as an unfortunate setback for one of England’s most promising young talents.
Manchester United captain Zelem had initially been left out of the squad chosen by Phil Neville. The midfielder was earlier called up in September for a training camp as a reward for her fine development at club level, only to then have to pull out after testing positive for coronavirus.
Zelem was formerly a WSL champion with Liverpool and later played in Italy for Juventus, before returning home when United launched their new women’s team in 2018.
Her performances since have been a major factor in the club’s rapid rise to the point where they are threatening to turn the WSL’s existing ‘Big Three’ into a ‘Big Four’.
Revised 28-Player England Women Squad to Face Germany:
Goalkeepers: Hannah Hampton (Birmingham), Sandy MacIver (Everton), Ellie Roebuck (Man City), Carly Telford (Chelsea).
Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Man City), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Grace Fisk (West Ham), Alex Greenwood (Man City), Steph Houghton (Man City), Abbie McManus (Man Utd), Esme Morgan (Man City), Demi Stokes (Man City), Millie Turner (Man Utd), Leah Williamson (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Izzy Christiansen (Everton), Jill Scott (Man City), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Ella Toone (Man Utd), Keira Walsh (Man City), Katie Zelem (Man Utd).
Forwards: Rachel Daly (West Ham), Bethany England (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Man City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Lyon), Ellen White (Man City).
The game is to be broadcast live on BBC2, with kick-off at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. Germany are currently ranked second in the world by FIFA, four places above England.