“I get angry when I get days off in the week,” Ella Toone says as she speaks of her passion for the beautiful game.
The Manchester United star was one of three Red Devils who helped the England Lionesses to the World Cup final this summer, another landmark ocassion in the 24 year old’s whirlwind career which has seen her have little time off in recent years.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Toone spoke about the congested fixture list with international and domestic football seemingly coming one after the other: “Playing it and having so many games is definitely tough – mentally and physically – but for me I always find that energy to go out, improve as a player and keep getting better each game. I definitely don’t get bored or tired of it!”
In United’s recent 1-1 draw against Leicester City – the first time she’d been taken out of the starting 11 and placed on the sidelines since October 2020, Toone cut a frustrated figure as she warmed up, itching to get stuck in.
Toone continued: “I always want to play football, have a ball at my feet and that is when I’m happiest when I am on the football pitch so for me football is what I enjoy, what I love.”
The midfielder, a born and bred United fan, was an integral part of Skinner’s United side last year that secured their best ever finish in the league, went to an FA Cup final and secured Champions League football.
“Over the past five years we’ve definitely built on so much stuff. We’ve definitely bridged the gap on what you’d say are the top teams and yeah, I think this year is even more exciting than the last,” Toone said.
United have strengthened their squad significantly this season with the additions of Brazilian international Geyse, French forward Melvine Malard and World Cup Golden Boot winner Hinata Miyazawa.
“They are struggling to understand a lot of English, and especially my English!” Toone laughs.
“Everyone who comes from abroad always says I’m the hardest to understand so I’ve started talking slower for them to understand me more.”
Despite the language barrier, Toone is giving her new teammates some pointers to help them settle in.
“I’ve told them definitely don’t get used to the sunny weather in Manchester because we don’t get a lot of it! It’s a lot of rain and a lot of wind.”
As well as some arrivals, there have been a number of departures too.
It is well known that Toone and Alessia Russo have been best friends since they were kids and with Russo leaving for rivals Arsenal in Summer, Toone has been questioned about her thoughts on her decision to depart.
“We won’t be friends for 90 minutes on a game day but I’m sure we’ll be fine after that,” Toone mused.
The pair played together in the academy before spending three years playing for United at senior level.
“She’s my best friend in football and away from football. We’ll always have that bond but people move on and people go on different journeys,” she said.
“Alessia has moved on and I wish her nothing but the best. It is hard when you’ve had her for three years by your side and then she gets off and goes and signs for a team you are fighting against.”
Toone has just arrived back from international duty with England but will be quickly switching focus to United’s next test against Brighton on Sunday.