The visit was to promote interest in the women’s game in Trafford ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro next year, which kicks off at Old Trafford on Wednesday 6th July when England face Austria.
It is a fixture that both Toone and Russo will hope to be a part of, but their focus last week was solely on inspiring the next generation.
“It’s been great to visit the girls here at Stretford today,” Ella said. “I was really impressed with the talent out there, which is why it’s important for us to get involved in sessions like these to show the girls what can be achieved if they continue to work hard.
“Everywhere you go you can see the women’s game is growing, and if I can play a part in continuing to help that by visiting sessions like today then I am more than happy to do so."
Alessia was as equally enthusiastic in what is undeniably an exciting time for the women’s game, with a home tournament just around the corner.
“The Women's Euro next summer is so exciting, not just for the country, but for all the local girls like those here today. Manchester’s such a special footballing city and for Old Trafford to be hosting some games, so close to where these girls go to school, is inspirational for them.”
The girls who participated are all keen players who attend regular after-school sessions and were led by the Foundation’s female education development officer, Claire Harrop. Claire is part of the Foundation’s Girls’ Development programme which aims to break down barriers and enable young girls to achieve their full potential both in sport and other industries.
“Representation and visibility is so important to what we do, so for the girls to be able to meet and play with Ella and Alessia really is an invaluable experience for them,” Claire said. “Having a home Euro next year only adds to the creation of an environment where these girls can think anything is possible for them.”
Words that were echoed by participant Poppy who told us about her experience of the afternoon.
“I found it really inspirational,” she said. “The players spoke to us about their background and how they had managed to become professional. To have the chance to play with them was mad!
“It’s so exciting to know that a Women’s Euro match will be taking place so close to where I’m from. To see the women’s game growing is brilliant and hopefully one day it’ll be as big as the men’s game!”
The ballot for tickets for the Women’s Euro is open until 18:00 on Tuesday 16th November. Head to www.uefa.com/tickets to ensure that you don’t miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable tournament.