Man United ace vows to bounce back from injury for Champions League chase

ALESSIA RUSSO has vowed to let her football “do the talking” as she targets a return to Manchester United and England action.

The WSL ace is one of seven squad members who have been battling with injuries that have left Casey Stoney’s ranks depleted.

Russo, 22, was speaking to talkSPORT 2’s Women’s Football Weekly Show ahead of United’s upcoming tussle with Arsenal.  

Stoney’s side, who are third, are six points ahead of the Gunners who have a game in hand.

Both sides are vying for a spot in next term’s Champions League with only the top three WSL teams eligible to qualify.  

Should United finish third they will reach the top football competition for women’s clubs in Europe for the first time in their history. 

Russo told talkSPORT 2: “We set targets at the start of the season and our target was that we wanted to get into the Champions League. 

“It’s our second season in the league and I think we’re confident we can do that and that’s been the goal throughout the season and what we’ve been working towards in every session and in every game.

“We started the season in great form and we’ve been going well, but we’ve still got a massive end to the season. 

“It’s so close at the top of the table, so it will be a really exciting end to the season for women’s football.”

Russo, who switched from Brighton to Man United in August 2020, has been earning praise for her performances in the team’s attack. 

The England starlet, who spent the 2016-17 season at Chelsea before moving to Albion, has netted 3 goals in four WSL games for United this term.

And one of her efforts was against the Seagulls when they lost 3-0 to Stoney's aces in October. 

But after picking up a hamstring injury in training that required surgery in November, Russo has been out of action. 

However, the Maidstone-born striker is reportedly on the verge of making a comeback. 

Russo added: “Injuries are not nice for anyone but it’s part of football, unfortunately. It was a massive learning curve for me.  

“I learnt a lot about my body, what works and what doesn’t work and I also tried to focus on how I could best support the girls in other ways rather than being on the pitch, which, unfortunately, wasn’t possible.

“It’s been quite a long process, but one I take day-by-day. I’m looking forward to getting back on the pitch and being better than I was.”

This week United have been boosted by the return of Scotland defender Kirsty Smith and England striker Lauren James’ recovery from a quad strain.

Right now, my priority is to get back on the pitch for United and hopefully let that do the talking

Other players missing through injuries include Leah Galton and Ivana Fuso who have both been sidelined with ankle problems. 

Meanwhile, Tobin Heath is targeting an April return following ankle damage with her USA team-mate Christen Press missing United’s win against Aston Villa as a precaution. 

Russo, who made her senior England debut at the SheBelieves Cup in February 2020, hopes to get back to her best for club and country. 

Russo said: “In the front line, everyone is in great form for their clubs and have been doing so well.

“There was the international friendly weeks ago where we got a great result against Northern Ireland and I think, yes, I would love to get myself back in the England squad.

“Right now, my priority is to get back on the pitch for United and hopefully let that do the talking.

“It’s been a long time out and I just can’t wait to be back playing with the United girls.” 

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