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Scotland coach John Carver insists door is still open for MLS duo Johnny Russell and Ryan Gauld

John Carver during Scotland National team's training session at La Finca Resort in Spain.
John Carver during Scotland National team's training session at La Finca Resort in Spain.

John Carver insists Ryan Gauld and Johnny Russell can both have a part to play for Scotland.

The former Dundee United duo have been earning rave reviews for their respective performances in the MLS in the United States this season but were left out of the national team squad for the final World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Denmark.

Russell netted 15 goals in 30 games during the regular MLS season and his club Sporting Kansas City is set to face Gauld’s Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS Cup play-offs.

‘Watching them all the time’

Scotland coach Carver says the players’ exploits across the Atlantic have not gone unnoticed back in Scotland.

He said: “Let me tell you, I’ve got a close affinity to the MLS because I’ve worked out there.

“I know both players really well. I think it was after the last camp, Vancouver were playing Kansas and I jokingly said that I might go across – but I was actually going on holiday to Portugal instead.

“But, we’re watching them all the time.

“I look at them all the time and the two guys are definitely, definitely, in our thoughts.

“They are definitely in Steve’s thoughts and mine.

“They keep scoring goals, so there’s no reason why not.

“If you’re scoring goals, and it’s something we’ve not been good at over a period of time, then you have to take these guys into consideration.

“So, they are definitely on the radar. That’s for sure.

“They’re playing against each other again in the play-offs? So that might be a little trip for me, then.”

It is 23 years since Scotland last competed in the finals of the World Cup but having competed in the Euros earlier this year Carver believes the experience gained in the summer can be drawn upon by captain Andy Robertson and his team-mates.

Carver said: “That’s one of the reasons why this group’s been successful but, certainly, the experience they got in the summer has definitely put them in good stead.

“We said that after the tournament, that although we didn’t get the results we wanted and we didn’t progress, the experience alone of being in that tournament football was very important.

“The build-up to it, going on that unbeaten run, getting into the tournament and doing okay – not great, but okay – that experience was always going to put these guys in good stead for the next tournament.

“We want to keep qualifying, we want to keep qualifying for big tournaments and the only way we’re going to do that is by getting better, getting stronger as we progress.”

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