Manchester United midfielder Ella Toone joked she probably “won’t be best friends” with former team-mate Alessia Russo when the pair meet in the Women’s Super League on Friday night.
After spending three seasons in Manchester, Russo swapped the Red Devils for Arsenal in the summer, joining the north London outfit on a free transfer.
The 24-year-old striker now makes a quick return to her old stomping ground when United host the Gunners at Leigh Sports Village and her childhood friend Toone knows exactly what a threat her England colleague poses.
“We speak every day but we’ve not spoken about (Friday’s) game as such, probably not something we will speak about either,” Toone told the PA news agency.
“I’m sure we won’t be best friends for those 90 minutes, but I’m sure as soon as the game’s done we’ll be back to normal!
“In football that’s what happens, people move on and Alessia’s coming back to where she started her WSL career now so it’s exciting for everyone who’s there.
“For us we don’t want her to score, we know what kind of player she is, she’s unbelievable on the ball. We’ll really try and stop her threats.
“It’s going to be different, I remember the last time we were up against each other was probably when she was in the Chelsea youth and I think I was in Blackburn academy. That was one of the only times we did come up against each other.
“It’s always nice when you come up against people who you know, you know what they’re like as players and you know how to try and stop them. She’s going to come back to where she started and it’ll be nice to see her, but I guess for those 90 minutes I’ll want to beat her!”
Toone was speaking on behalf of McDonald’s to promote their McDelivery campaign, encouraging people to get their McDonald’s fix in the comfort of their own home and sharing their favourite orders.
United will be looking to secure back-to-back wins on Friday having opened the season with a 2-1 victory against Aston Villa thanks to Rachel Williams’ late winner.
Marc Skinner’s side are hoping to go one step further this season having come incredibly close to securing a maiden WSL title last year, finishing two points behind champions Chelsea.
— Manchester United Women (@ManUtdWomen) October 5, 2023
The side have made some exciting signings over the summer with World Cup golden boot winner Hinata Miyazawa and Brazil forward Geyse joining, and Toone is determined that the club can keep building.
“We’re at a club with high ambitions, as players we have those ambitions as well,” she said.
“You don’t want to be at a club where you’re not winning trophies, so for us it’s about kicking on and really progressing as much as we can.
“Coming off the back of last season we finished the highest we’ve ever finished in the league and we managed to reach a FA Cup final, which is the best cup run we’ve had.
“So it’s about building on that now, we’ve signed some really good, talented players and integrated them into the squad nicely, for us it’s about taking each game as it comes and progressing in the league.”
Ella Toone is encouraging football fans up and down the country to get in on a game day McDelivery. Download the McDonald’s App and order today!