Sarina Wiegman explains why Alessia Russo starts over Rachel Daly in England’s opening World Cup game against Haiti
Sarina Wiegman has faced many tough calls for her starting eleven but has opted to start Russo over Aston Villa’s Daly.
United were hoping Russo would choose to sign a new contract after the club qualified for the Champions League and offered to make her their highest paid player.
Alessia Russo is set to start for England against Haiti in their World Cup opener today
The Arsenal forward got the nod over Rachel Daly, who was the WSL top scorer last season
Daly will feel a little hard done by after her sensational season with Villa. The forward was the league’s top scorer last season, with 22 goals.
Speaking ahead of the game, Wiegman gave her reasons for starting Russo over Daly.
‘First of all, it was really hard. We have three good centre forwards in our squad. We have made very hard decisions over time,’ Wiegman said.
‘We had the preparation camps, and we had the games we played earlier this season. In the end, I came up with the decision. That’s why Alessia starts.’
‘That was really hard, they’ve both done very well. Bethany England too. You just make up your mind at the end. They gave us headaches.’
Meanwhile, Chloe Kelly – who scored England’s winner against Germany in the Euro 2022 final – has also received the nod in attack along with fellow Manchester City team-mate Lauren Hemp.
Millie Bright will captain the Lionesses at the back. The Chelsea defender has had her injury issues over the last few months but was declared fit to start the clash against the World Cup debutants.
Bright will partner Chelsea team-mate Jess Carter in defence, while Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood will operate at fullback.
England XI: Earps; Bronze, Bright, Greenwood, Carter; Stanway, Walsh; Hemp, Toone, Kelly; Russo