Johnny Russell says playing in MLS makes it 'difficult' to get Scotland call-up
Last Updated: 17/11/19 4:32pm
Johnny Russell says that playing in the MLS may hinder his chances of getting a call-up for Scotland, admitting that he has to impress more than other players when he’s with the national team.
Russell, who moved to Sporting Kansas City from Derby in 2018, has scored 19 goals in 58 games for the Wizards.
He has made 10 appearances for Scotland since then, but the 29-year-old believes that he has to make an impression when he's on international duty because he's playing overseas.
"[The fans] see a lot of the stuff but not as much as some of the guys playing in Scotland, even the guys down in England as well," he told Sky Sports News.
"I feel every time I want to play I want to make an impression but I feel like it's a little bit more than everyone else because I probably will be seen the least.
"It's not just for the staff but for the fans as well that probably don't watch a lot of the American league.
"From that point of view, maybe it is a bit difficult, but when I've come away I've always tried to work hard and impress and it's kept me in the squad so far."
Scotland can no longer qualify for Euro 2020 automatically, but they can still qualify via the play-offs having earned the chance to progress by winning their Nations League group last year.
The former Dundee United forward is currently out injured with a muscle tear, but watched on as Steve Clarke's side beat Cyprus 2-1 on Saturday.
Russell says the Scots need to use their remaining qualifying games as momentum heading into the play-offs in March.
He said: "We went into the group with every belief and intention that we'd qualify from it. Down to us and down to results that's not been the case.
"The last few games have been about gaining momentum, winning a few games, getting comfortable with each other as a team, and taking that into the play-offs.
"[The win against Cyprus] was a great start but we've got another game in a couple of days. Winning games is going to give anyone confidence."
Scotland face Kazakhstan, live on Sky Sports, on Monday, having lost 3-0 to the side ranked 117th in the world in the reverse fixture.
Russell, who came on as a substitute in that game, says it was a tough result to take, but insists that his team-mates will use it as motivation to secure victory at Hampden Park.
"That was a real low point and a difficult night for everyone. They caught us off-guard and caught us napping a little bit, and they punished us," Russell said.
"At international level, if you give teams that sort of belief, especially away from home, they're going to punish you. It was a real difficult night for us as a team and a country.
"It's all about putting it right and getting a win going into these play-off games."