America’s Major League Soccer has long had a reputation as a retirement league as some of the biggest players head Stateside to top up their bank balance before calling it quits on their playing career – but Scottish striker Johnny Russell insists his move to MLS is the “best decision” he’s ever made.
The former Dundee United star is on the brink of overtaking John Spencer as the highest-scoring Scot in America’s top-tier as he defended MLS and hailed the recent push towards attracting younger talent to the league.
While the likes of David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Bastian Schweinsteiger all headed across the Atlantic in the latter days of their playing careers, Russell made the move at the relatively tender age of 27.
With Russell set to captain Sporting Kansas City in the MLS Cup Playoffs next month, the striker is loving life on the other side of the pond as he looks to write his name into the history books.
“Coming over here was the best decision I’ve made,” Russell said [Daily Record].
“When I came, I got the usual stick. It’s a retirement league, he’s chucking it, that’ll be him done, it’s rubbish.
“I knew I had to come here young and I was 27 at the time. If I waited for another contract in England or somewhere else, it would have been near impossible to get over.
“I know so many boys now around my age or older than I was, who are now trying to get into the MLS.
“But they can’t because the league is changing.
“Obviously, they’ll still sign the occasional superstar but they’re trying to get young exciting players. It has completely changed.
“I’m glad I made the decision because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have got out here.”
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