Alessia Russo: Man Utd boss shares thoughts on Lionesses star's 'homecoming' return ahead of Arsenal clash

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Manchester United boss Marc Skinner discussed the return of former striker Alessia Russo and Arsenal to Leigh Sports Village in the Women's Super League (WSL) this Friday.

Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner shared his thoughts on the return of former striker Alessia Russo with his side set to tackle their WSL title rivals Arsenal this Friday.

Russo, 24, makes an early return 'home' to face the Red Devils after her controversial summer move to North London and the United boss spoke of his relationship with the player amid her well publicised return this Friday.

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"In all honesty, I'm not really here to talk about Alessia. She's not my player" said Skinner when quizzed on her return to the club.

"I know that she returns and while Alessia was here, me and her had a really good relationship. She returns home and, of course, it's a narrative that we all want to spin but from my perspective, when we look at the forward that is now in place, she has different abilities to Alessia so...look Alessia is coming home and I absolutely understand the question but she's not our player anymore" he added.

The Lionesses star spent two and half seasons with Manchester United before making the move to WSL rivals Arsenal this summer upon the expiry of her contract after the Gunners long, protracted move for the 24-year-old.

Russo's move to North London and the manner of it had frustrated many fans who had taken to the striker as one of their own with the forward confessing to being a supporter of the club since she was young and the Red Devils boss revealed his preparations for her homecoming.

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"You prepare for her like she's the opponent, you give her the respect that you know she can give you with the qualities on the field but also then how to exploit her.

"She will know that and she will know how diligent we are in our work. I get the rhetoric around it but I won't be making the narrative about Alessia. My narrative is about how my team can beat Arsenal. I'm confident in every game because I believe in this team and what they can do. I believe we can beat any opponent on any given day. We've shown that" said Skinner.

Manchester United could make it three consecutive WSL wins over Jonas Eidevall's side, though the Gunners enter the game with a point to prove and will be aiming to ensure they bounce back from their shock opening day defeat to Liverpool.

"I think they (Arsenal) are different. I always prepare for the opponent we are about to play, form is part of that preparation but you always have to respect the opponent for what they can do to you. Arsenal are one of the top teams in this country for many, many years.

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"It's going to be one of those big games where it can go either way, my players don't need the physiological edge (of winning their last two games against Arsenal) because they are already preparing for that.

Manchester United take on Jonas Eidevall's Gunners outfit this Friday live on Sky Sports Main Event, with kick off scheduled for 7.30pm.

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