ALESSIA RUSSO was “buzzing” when she discovered David Beckham’s daughter Harper can be counted among the Lionesses fans.
The England ace described meeting the Three Lions icon as a “pinch-me” moment with the duo sharing World Cup playing experiences.
GettyAlessia Russo has opened up on discussing England playing experiences with David Beckham[/caption]
GettyRusso was reflecting on her conversation with the retired Three Lions hero ahead of the Lionesses’ World Cup clash with Colombia[/caption]
Times Newspapers LtdRusso revealed Beckham was one of her football idols during her childhood[/caption]
The duo met for a chat hosted by Adidas before the Lionesses’ tournament opening clash with Haiti in July.
Their meeting saw them swap England shirts and reflect on the joys and pressures of playing for their country on the game’s biggest stage.
The striker, 24, who will battle Colombia with her team in the World Cup quarter-final, said: “He’s been one of my idols ever since I was a little girl.
“That’s probably one of my biggest highlights off the pitch – to sit and have a normal conversation with someone you used to watch on the world stage when you were younger.
“It was amazing and he was really really nice and a bit of a pinch-me moment in terms of what women’s sport is doing.”
Beckham, 48, who was capped 115 times before retiring in 2013, played in his first World Cup 25 years ago
The former England skipper, whose 21-year playing career included spells at Manchester United and Real Madrid, led the Three Lions to two quarter-finals.
During his chat with Russo, the Inter Miami owner mentioned his daughter Harper, 12, being inspired by Sarina Wiegman’s side.
Russo, who has 26 international caps, added: “It’s special to hear that Harper is a huge fan.
“He said we should never lose sight of what we’re doing as a team.
“That was really cool because we’re all in the moment in terms of all we see and compete for every day on the pitch.
“The impact you have away from that is what’s really special to hear.”
On Saturday Russo is set to help her team attempt to reach their first World Cup semi-finals under head coach Wiegman.
The duel with Colombia will see the Kent-born striker play in a quarter-final fixture in the tournament for the first time in her career.
The victors of the clash between the Euros champs and last year’s Copa America Feminina finalists will face Australia or France for a World Cup final spot.
Their opponents’ star players include Real Madrid ace Linda Caicedo, 18, who played four international tournaments last year including the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups.
They have proven themselves capable of causing upsets by defeating Germany and South Korea in the group stage.
Last month they made headlines when their pre-tournament training game with Vera Pauw’s Republic of Ireland was abandoned after 23 minutes
The game was halted due to their challenges being deemed too “overly physical”.
However, Russo is relishing going toe-to-toe with England’s opponents who are the only South America side left in the tournament.
Russo said: “Colombia are a physical team but so are we.
“It’s something that we’ve faced before in this tournament and we’ve stepped up.
“That’s part of the game now, it’s getting more physical. Players are quicker and faster.
“I’m quite a big player, in terms of my height and stature, so I’d like to think that I can hold my own, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I couldn’t.
“I’m up against Millie Bright most days in training.
“If there’s ever a test, it’s right there. You prepare for those moments
“In this tournament, the levels are so high and it’s great to see.
EPAEngland’s clash with Colombia will see their defences tested by tournament star Linda Caicedo[/caption]
“No one in this tournament is an underdog.
“Colombia have put on some really good performances and we’ll be ready for them.
“It’s great that you can’t take your foot off the gas for one second and not that you could for the Euros.
“You can see every game is so tight and that just shows the level of the game right now.”