Ella Toone has been speaking about idolising Cristiano Ronaldo and where her winning mentality comes from in a new interview.
The Manchester United women’s star wears the number 7 shirt like her hero and now shares a training ground with him.
“ I haven’t seen him yet, I’m actually gutted. We train at Carrington now and the men are there but you never really see them. Hopefully one day I manage to bump into him!” she told The Daily Mail.
“When I was younger I used to always have the No 7 shirt, every time I would have Ronaldo and seven on the back or Toone.”
Though Toone was a part of United’s centre of excellence when she was younger, they didn’t have a senior team to look up to and progress into and being a die hard Red, it was Ronaldo who inspired her.
“I still look up to him now with his work rate and desire. He’s achieved so much as a player, he was my biggest role model growing up.”
Toone came from a very sporty family and had the opportunity to try a range of different sports.
She told The Mail that her mum was a gymnast and the family was full of keen swimmers and water polo players. Much like her idol, Toone has that winning mentality. “I think being involved in lots of sports made me have that competitive edge and that winning mentality – I hated losing anything,” she said.
Though she was good at all the sports she tried out, winning trophies in gymnastics, it was football that had her heart.
With the lack of a women’s first team at United, Toone found herself training with rivals Manchester City for a while until United reformed in 2018 with Casey Stoney at the helm.
“Obviously I’m a United fan but I knew how much of a good team City were and I wanted to progress in my career. I was training every day with top players, the likes of Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan and people who I looked up to.”
She spoke of her delight when Casey Stoney reached out to her to come back to her childhood club.
“I bit her hand off as soon as I knew there was a Manchester United women’s team forming. I wanted to come back home and play for them. That’s all I ever wanted.”
“She made the team so together, we’re like a family now. That’s what makes it so enjoyable and you want to play for each other on the pitch as well.”
“Playing for someone who has played in the women’s game at such a high level was quite refreshing because she just understood things that not many people do.”
Toone has been a key player for United this season, now with Marc Skinner managing. The Reds are two points behind third place, vying for a Champions League spot.
Toone has scored four goals and bagged four assists this season in all competitions as the Barmy Army sing her name from the stands week in, week out.
“I love it, they’re so loud. They’re our 12th player. You want to play exciting football for the fans and be brave and make them enjoy the day. To hear my name being shouted is a bit mad but it’s great.”
She continues, “Our fans are amazing, I think we’ve got the best fans in the league. They come home and away no matter where.”
Toone hopes to star for England in their opening game of the Euros at Old Trafford next year after making her debut this year and starring in every one of the Lionesses games since Sarina Wiegman took charge.
“It would mean everything. Representing your country is the most amazing thing you can ever do and it’s so special. Manchester United and Old Trafford is a big part of me and hopefully I get to step out onto that pitch with the England shirt on. It would be an amazing day for me and my family.”
For now, Toone is enjoying her football at United and hopes to emulate her idols success for the women’s team.