Ella Toone: Making Memories at Wembley
Manchester United's Ella Toone on facing Northern Ireland, playing at Wembley and having teammate Alessia Russo back in the England Squad.
Wednesday, 20 October 2021
The Lionesses head to Wembley Stadium on Saturday to play Northern Ireland in their first ever competitive match at England’s infamous ground.
Saturday’s fixture marks Toone’s second time playing against Northern Ireland over the past year. The first was an event to remember as Toone made her senior debut and etched her name on the scoresheet with the Lionesses for the very first time.
This time around, the occasion bears significantly bigger for Toone, as she sets her sights on making her mark at the home of English football in front of fans.
“It’s huge. Obviously, I’ve never played at Wembley before, this is my first time, so it’s going to be even more special. The girls have spoken a lot about Wembley and how amazing it is and I just can’t wait to step out on to the pitch in front of all the fans as well.”
“That’s what you dream of when you’re younger. Going out to those big stadiums and playing in front of big crowds, so I’m really excited for Saturday. I don’t think I’ll be too nervous because we’re just there to play football at the end of the day, that’s what we do and that’s what we love. So, I’m going to embrace every little moment that I can and enjoy the moment.”
Toone is joined by four Manchester United teammates, the largest number of United compatriots to be selected for an England camp. Marc Skinner’s Red Devils have enjoyed a decent start to their season with certain individuals clearly impressing the Lionesses new boss, Sarina Wiegman. Goalkeeper Mary Earps and fellow midfielders, Lucy Staniforth and Katie Zelem are amongst the cut, but Toone shared that she was particularly pleased to have forward Alessia Russo back on board.
“She’s my best friend so to have her on camp’s been really nice. She deserves it, she’s had a bit of a tough time over the last year with injuries. But she’s been great, worked really hard and bounced back from it.”
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Toone expressed her eagerness to remain within the senior squad leading up to next year’s Euro’s yet was wise to the importance of consistency at a domestic level.
“I know that I just need to keep performing for Manchester United,” noted the 22-year-old, “then hopefully I’ll keep on getting picked for camps and getting more minutes.”
However, regarding the immediate future, Toone is looking forward to getting stuck in and soaking up all that Wiegman imparts.
“It’s really exciting for the team, and for me as well, that we’ve got Sarina now. We know she’s a great manager and she’s achieved a lot. We just can’t wait to keep playing under her and learning from her. These two games will be massive again and we can’t wait to put on big performances.”