David Beckham has lavished admiration on Alessia Russo of England and Arsenal before of the Women’s World Cup.
Former Three Lions captain and Manchester United footballer David Beckham met with Russo ahead of the Lionesses’ trip to Australia and New Zealand this month.
“I’ve seen the talent and seen the passion that you girls have got. It’s incredible to see and it’s infectious to see you, as a team, play.
“It was so inspirational. My daughter was talking about it at school with her friends. To hear my daughter get inspired by what you girls were doing was incredible.
“All of a sudden, in the last 10 years, the rise of the women’s game, you’re starting to see packed-out stadiums. It must make you feel amazing because you’ve been part of that growth.”
Russo, who will play a vital role for Sarina Wiegman’s team this summer, understands the added responsibility that comes with representing the European champions.
“One thing that made last summer so incredible was that every player felt they could play with that freedom and instinct and show a bit of personality,” she added, adding that “in a major tournament, it can sometimes seem quite daunting.”
“People say to us now ‘do you think you’re going to have more pressure on you now you’ve won the Euros’, but we always say England have always had a massive target on their back, men and women, going into tournaments.”
Russo opted to leave Manchester United to join the Gunners earlier this month and the 22-cap international added that her goal is to inspire the next generation, similar to how Beckham did during his career for club and country.
Russo said: “Winning trophies is massive in your career but when you see little kids with the names on the back of the shirt, that’s what means the most.”