(May 18, 2018) — Sporting Kansas City winger Johnny Russell has been selected to the Scotland Men’s National Team for a friendly match against Mexico on Saturday, June 2. The contest at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will be televised live on FS1 and Univision at 7 p.m. CT.
Russell, who has enjoyed a strong start to his first MLS season with five goals and two assists for Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City, earns his first selection to the Scotland national team since Oct. 11, 2015, when he featured in a 6-0 win over Gibraltar in UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying. The 28-year-old has made four appearances for Scotland’s senior team, debuting in a friendly against England in November 2014.
In Scotland’s 24-man squad assembled by head coach Alex McLeish, Russell is the only player to play club soccer outside of Great Britain.
Scotland, No. 34 in the latest FIFA rankings, is set to battle a 15th-ranked Mexico side preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer in Russia. El Tri is making its seventh straight World Cup appearance, having lost in the Round of 16 in each of the last six tournaments.
Russell has started all 11 matches for a Sporting KC side that holds a three-point lead at the Western Conference summit with a 7-2-2 record. He opened his MLS scoring account in a thrilling 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire on March 10 and bagged his second goal in a 2-0 road victory over the LA Galaxy onApril 8. Russell then exploded for a hat-trick – the eighth in Sporting KC regular season history – to pace a 6-0 demolition of Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 20.
As Sporting KC’s joint-top goal scorer, Russell leads MLS with 84 touches in the opponent’s box while ranking fourth in dribbles (70) and fifth in shot attempts (36).
Prior to arriving in Kansas City, Russell had scored 93 goals over a 12-year period in England and his native Scotland. He joined Sporting KC after five seasons with Derby County in the English Football League Championship, where he scored 34 goals in 203 total appearances.
As a youth international, Russell represented Scotland at the U-19 and U-21 levels. He netted twice in 10 matches for the U-19s between 2007-2010, then logged 11 appearances for the Scotland U-21s from 2010-2012, tallying one goal in 2013 UEFA U-21 European Championship Qualifying.
Scotland MNT Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Jordan Archer (Millwall), Allan McGregor (Hull City) Jon McLaughlin (Hearts)
Defenders (7): Barry Douglas (Wolves), Jack Hendry (Celtic), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Callum Paterson (Cardiff City), John Souttar (Hearts), Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian)
Midfielders (9): Stuart Armstrong (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian), John McGinn (Hibernian), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Jamie Murphy (Brighton & Hove Albion, on loan at Rangers), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United), Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), Ryan Christie (Celtic, on loan at Aberdeen)
Forwards (5): Oli McBurnie (Swansea City, on loan at Barnsley), Lewis Morgan (Celtic, on loan at St Mirren), Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion), Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City)