Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced on Wednesday that they will impose more stringent sanctions against those that post abusive messages, and Greenwood hopes it will not have to come to players boycotting sites to send a message to racist trolls.
As for her own profile, Greenwood says she still fields nasty messages everyday, “without fail”. “Biggest snake ever,” is the most popular attack. “Proper football slag,” another added. But she has grown hardened to the abuse, almost desensitised, she says, and is ready to share the real Alex.
Settling back in the North-West, being closer to her family in Liverpool and to boyfriend Sheffield United’s Jack O’Connell, is part of that. But she is also keen to show her fans her fashion credentials.
During her season at Lyon – living abroad for the first time – she bonded with teammates such as Holland’s Shanice van de Sanden (“A style icon”) and Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan over hunting down exclusive trainer releases.
With female footballers now gracing magazine covers, starting their own fashion lines and becoming style influencers in their own right, she says it is an obvious portal for increasing the game’s profile.
“Growing up I used to watch all these great sportswomen and wonder what they’re wearing before or after the game,” Greenwood says, “so for me you can relate it back to the sport. That’s why I like City and England having a female kit – because little girls will watch us and say, ‘I want the women’s tracksuit or kit’. Fashion is massive and I’m hoping to grow the women’s game through that channel.”
For now, her focus is on tonight, where City have the chance to leapfrog their local rivals into second place, to trail only Chelsea. Greenwood’s club have momentum on side, winning eight of their last nine, while United were left reeling after a surprise loss to Reading last weekend.
Does she worry returning to the rivalry might reignite bubbling tensions for her online? “If I focus on young kids who comment saying I’m their idol or they want my name on the back of their shirt, I can scroll past the bad ones,” she says, “the good always outweighs the bad.”