free slot machines games offline-Alessia Russo: England must focus on next part of journey

Alessia Russo celebrates goal against Sweden
Alessia Russo's scored four goals at Euro 2022 including a memorable backheel

Striker Alessia Russo says England are "moving on to the next stage" of their journey as they prepare for their first game since winning Euro 2022.

The Lionesses travel to Austria on Saturday before taking on Luxembourg on Tuesday in World Cup qualifiers.

Sarina Wiegman's side top their group and can seal a place at next year's World Cup with a draw against Austria.

"The summer was amazing, but we've got the World Cup, we've got World Cup qualifiers now," Russo told BBC Sport.

"We're moving on to the next stage of this journey. For footballers it's such a quick turnaround, and for us we're now fully focused on these two games and then going forward from there.

"The game of football moves so quickly. We've got loads coming up and if you're still reflecting on the past, then you might miss opportunities that are coming up.

"Obviously we'll relive that and enjoy that summer for the rest of our lives but there are other things to focus on now. Now everyone is locked in on Austria and ready to go."

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It is exactly a month since the Lionesses were crowned European champions at Wembley, but two members of that trophy-winning squad - midfielder Jill Scott and record scorer Ellen White - have since announced their retirement from football.

"Two players that English football are lucky enough to call their own," said Russo.

"They're amazing and both of them have left such a huge legacy and footprint on the women's game.

"They'll both be remembered forever and sorely missed in the camp. Even today we were talking about how missed they are.

"We loved having them and obviously Jill is a huge presence on and off the pitch, and then for me, Ellen - a striker that I've learnt from since I first came in. I'm gutted to not have them here."

Manchester United striker Russo, who scored four goals as a substitute at the Euros, is the main contender to replace White up front, but who does she think will pick up the baton now?

"I don't know, we'll have to see," she admitted. "We've got lots to compete for in this squad."

'Lots of players fighting for White's spot'

Ebony Salmon playing in a friendly against Northern Ireland
Ebony Salmon (left) won her only cap in a friendly against Northern Ireland in February 2021

Another striker keen to stake her claim for White's place is 21-year-old Ebony Salmon, who has been recalled to the squad after winning her only cap 18 months ago.

"It leaves a spot open in the team that hasn't been open as big as it is now for years," said Salmon, who has scored eight goals in 14 games since joining National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) side Houston Dash in June.

"It creates more competition. There are a lot of really good players fighting for that spot. For me, if I can work on what I need to work on, being around these players in camp is only going to make me a better player."

Salmon is the only player based outside of Europe in Wiegman's squad. She came through the ranks at Aston Villa and had spells with Manchester United, Sheffield United and Bristol City, before joining Racing Louisville last year.

She made her only appearance prior to Wiegman becoming England manager, but she revealed she had spoken with the Dutchwoman about what she needed to do to get back in the squad last year.

"(Wiegman) told me what I needed to work on, the things she saw as my strengths but also the stuff holding me back and from being part of this environment," said Salmon.

"The main thing was going back to my club, doing what I do well but doing it consistently. Recently I've been in that form which has earned me that call-up."

A draw in Austria or a win over Luxembourg will see the Lionesses clinch automatic World Cup qualification followed by a friendly against world champions the USA at Wembley on 7 October.

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