Johnny Russell: MLS forward aims for Scotland squad return

Johnny Russell is one of the three permitted designated players at Kansas City that would be considered outside their salary cap
Russell is one of the three permitted designated players at Kansas City that would be considered outside their salary cap

Johnny Russell is backing himself to return to the Scotland squad in time for the summer's Euros - if he maintains his good form in the MLS.

The Sporting Kansas City forward, 30, made the last of his 14 international appearances in October 2019.

Covid protocols made it impossible for him to travel from the United States for Scotland games in 2020 as a place at the finals was clinched.

"I'm hoping my versatility can help," Russell told BBC Scotland.

"I can play out wide or up top. But it's not something I would ever take for granted. I know I have to be at my best to be considered and it's a fight I won't shy away from.

"If I play like I have been doing recently then I have a very good chance of being there.

"I don't think the manager has completely phased me out. I feel like if I'm doing well then the distance doesn't matter and he will have me involved."

Former Dundee United and Derby County striker Russell revived his Scotland career after moving to Kansas in 2018, winning nine caps since.

Last year, in a curtailed season, he finished as the club's joint-top scorer with six goals from 23 appearances.

The next MLS season is scheduled to begin in March, while Scotland's World Cup qualifying campaign kicks off with three matches at the end of that month.

"I want to be in every squad," said Russell. "So I'll be doing everything I possibly can to make myself available."

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