Maidstone girl catches Alessia Russo's England Lionesses shirt after Euros semi-final win

  • WATCH: Full video report by ITV News Meridian's Joe Coshan on how a young footballer from Maidstone was given the best surprise by her England Lioness hero

A young footballer from Maidstone was left speechless after England forward Alessia Russo threw her the shirt she wore during the Lionesses Euros semi-final win.

Nancy Richardson was at the game in Sheffield with her mum Michelle and younger brother Henry and held up a banner to try to catch the attention of her hometown hero.

At full time, the 10-year-old moved closer to the pitch with her handmade sign saying: 'Russo I play at Bearsted, please can I have your shirt?' and shouting her name.

Nancy with her Russo shirt, beside her mum Michelle and younger brother Henry

Nancy told ITV News Meridian: "I went to the quarter-finals as well and I took the banner then and I tried but she didn't see it so I took it again to the semis and she did.

"I feel really happy because she's my favourite player for England and I've got her shirt that she scored the wonder goal in.

"It just makes me believe in myself and make me think what I can achieve. I want to follow in her footsteps but not play for Man U, play for Chelsea."

  • The moment Alessia Russo threw her shirt to Nancy in the crowd

Nancy plays for Bearsted Rangers and is part of the Soccer Elite Footballing Academy - the same teams Alessia played for as a youngster - and she has inspired her love for football.

Her mum Michelle, added: "She said 'you can't wash the shirt mum', it needs to have all the grass and all the mud, so it's going in a frame.

"She lives it. Breathes it. Everything is football, football is life. Even the books she reads at school are about football so everything is football based, so to get the shirt from the 'Bearsted Backheel' match, it was incredible to see."

Nancy kissing the badge of her Russo shirt. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Nancy plays in the boys squad at Soccer Elite in Gillingham. Following a surge in demand that they put down to the Lionesses success, they'll be setting up a girls team next season.

"She's in the top group we have, playing up a year group a lot of the time," her coach Kieran Culleton said.

"She's taken some really good steps and we have high hopes for her whatever her next move may be.

"Alessia's marking the path for everyone to follow in her footsteps, so in ten or fifteen years time it'll be nice to see Nancy do the same."