England forward Alessia Russo has come to terms with the fact that sometimes the best career move requires parting ways with your closest friend.
The 24-year-old joined Arsenal on a free transfer before flying out to pre-World Cup camp in Australia, a deal that will see her separated from fellow Lioness and former Manchester United team-mate Ella Toone in the Women’s Super League from next season.
So, while this World Cup campaign, which kicks off for England against Haiti on Saturday, is monumental for the whole squad, it holds a unique significance for the duo who bonded a decade ago at junior England camp when they noticed they were sporting the same footwear.
“I mean, it’s sad, but it’s football,” said Russo, speaking after a training session on the Sunshine Coast.
“I think Ella and I were friends since we were like 12, 13, and we will be for, well, forever. And I think that it’s really nice that we’ve got this summer together to really spend some more time together, hopefully create some more amazing memories and then go into seasons together.
“But when she goes down south, she’ll stay with me and vice versa.
“We’re just there to balance each other out, really. Obviously we do loads together. Our rooms (in Australia) are next door to each other, we knock on the way down for breakfast so we spend a lot of time together. She’s like my sister. You never get sick of her so it’s nice.”
A special day