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Derby County

Thriving in America, ex-Derby star Johnny Russell deserves a Scotland recall

The forward has been in fine form since his move to MLS.

Max Cohen

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Johnny Russell
Photo: Getty Images

Johnny Russell has been setting Major League Soccer on fire this spring, most recently bagging a hat-trick against Vancouver Whitecaps on the weekend to take his goal tally to five in eight matches.

Russell controversially left Derby County for Sporting Kansas City in January, but his impressive form in America should convince Alex McLeish to recall the 28-year-old to the Scotland set-up.

After 182 appearances and 30 goals over five years at Pride Park, the winger departed England for a shock move to Sporting Kansas City in MLS.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The winger had scored five goals and provided two assists in the first half of the 2017/18, yet left the Rams just 12 days after playing 90 minutes in their 0-0 draw with Bristol City in late January.

Yet the Scot has been thriving across the Atlantic and showed his devastating finishing qualities during Kansas City’s 6-0 demolition of Vancouver on 20 April.

Russell’s first goal was a lashed first-time finish from the edge of the box after receiving an intelligent cutback, and just six minutes later he had doubled his goal haul.

The winger cut in with precision from the left wing and drove past multiple defenders before slotting home a low drive at the near post. It was a wonderful individual goal that was a fine reward for his rampant opening quarter of the match.

(Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

And his third goal was perhaps the pick of the bunch. Russell took a short corner from the right wing, exchanged a one-two and delicately chipped the ball from a tight angle over the keeper.

The 28-year-old’s sublime hat-trick is evidence of his unique talents, and although his exploits have come in a weakened league, they are deserving of praise nonetheless.

With upcoming away friendlies approaching in Peru and Mexico in late May, McLeish should strongly consider granting Russell his first cap since 2015.

Given the geographic proximity and the winger’s outstanding form, Johnny Russell seems set to feature for his country in the midst of his American revival.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Brentford

One winner and one loser as Florian Jozefzoon chooses Derby over Leeds

The 27-year-old looks set to sign for the Rams.

Max Cohen

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Jozefzoon
Photo: Getty Images

When Brentford confirmed on Wednesday that the club had accepted a bid for attacker Florian Jozefzoon, it seemed Derby County were the frontrunners.

However, reports of a Leeds United bid added to the transfer drama, before Jozefzoon eventually chose the Rams over Elland Road, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The reported decision would come as a severe blow to Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United, as the club would miss out on yet another transfer target this summer.

However, Frank Lampard and Derby County will be delighted at another transfer coup, as the allure of the England legend is proving to be a great way of attracting players to Pride Park.

(Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Loser: Leeds fans

Although there are still a number of weeks left in the window, Leeds supporters are right to be worried about the lack of permanent signings.

So far, the club have made just two loan agreements with Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman of Chelsea. While the two are certainly smart acquisitions, they are not of the quality that will fire Leeds to promotion.

There is still no need to panic, as Marcelo Bielsa will surely attract some top talent as well— but to see their direct Championship rivals beat them to Jozefzoon will be worrying.

Winner: Frank Lampard

The Chelsea legend has done it again. After securing the double loan swoop of promising youngsters Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, Lampard looks set to acquire the services of the former Dutch Under-21 international.

In his first transfer window as a manager, Lampard has done well to convince key targets to join his project at Pride Park, a valuable skill that will serve him well in his coaching career.

Derby now look set to mount a serous promotion challenge; Leeds will have to strengthen further to be able to say the same.

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Derby County

Matej Vydra should make Leeds move instead of misguided Premier League switch

The Czech forward bagged himself 21 goals last season.

Max Cohen

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Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

According to The Sun, Derby County striker Matej Vydra is on his way out of Pride Park and is seeking a Premier League move, although fellow Championship club Leeds United are also interested.

Vydra should choose to sign with Leeds and fire the Yorkshire club to promotion, as he is not ready for a return to the Premier League.

The Czech Republic international is a player who occupies the awkward space between being top-class in the second division, yet not up to speed in the top flight.

In the Championship, there is absolutely no questioning Vydra’s quality. Last season for Derby, the striker banged in 21 goals and was the division’s top scorer, and in 2012/13 for Watford he chipped in 20 goals and eight assists.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

But in the Premier League, Vydra has struggled to find his feet. In 24 total top-flight appearances (23 for West Brom and one for Watford), the 26-year-old has scored just three times and provided four assists.

His poor Premier League statistics reveal why he is unlikely to receive much interest from top-flight teams this summer. But given Derby County’s Financial Fair Play worries, manager Frank Lampard may be forced to offload the frontman against his wishes.

The addition of Vydra would be a massive coup for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, as his past managers have heaped praise on the attacker. Back in October, Gary Rowett tipped Vydra to become the best creator in the second division.

“I said to him the other day that he’s got everything to be the best number 10 in this division. Both of his feet are fantastic; he can run, he’s quick and powerful.”

Leeds United would do well to acquire the services of Matej Vydra, one of the Championship’s best striking talents who could light up Elland Road next season.

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Derby County

Three reasons why Derby is the perfect destination for Harry Wilson

According to reports the 21-year-old Liverpool youngster is close to joining Derby

Liam Thomas

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"Photo: Getty Images"

Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson signed a new contract with the Merseyside giants last week. However, the 21-year-old will be loaned out for the season to gain some vital experience and, according to the Mirror, Derby County is his likely destination.

Wilson was rewarded with a new contract by the Reds after an impressive outing with Championship strugglers Hull City last season, where the wide man scored seven goals in 13 appearances.

Now, the Welsh international looks set to be Frank Lampard’s first summer signing, joining the former England international in his first managerial appointment.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

1. A chance to play under a boss who has done it all can only be inspiring

Wilson would have to chance to play under Lampard, a man who as a player won pretty much everything, this can only be inspiring for a footballer of Wilson’s age, and the former midfielder will surely know how to get the best out of the young talent at his disposal.

2. Already proved himself in the Championship last season

The Welsh international has already confirmed he can do it in the Championship, after a successful loan spell at Hull.

The young winger will only be looking to improve and, given a full season and game time, he is more than likely to do that.

3. Fearless attitude

Wilson would bring with him to Pride Park a fearless approach to improve and to take on any challenge that comes his way.

This mindset was demonstrated when at 16 Wilson made his full international debut for Wales; a testament to the youngster’s talent and solid proof he could hit the ground running at Derby.

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