Derby County are enduring a very challenging period off-the-field at the moment and there will be genuine concern over what the long-term future holds for the Rams.
Things were very different for the Rams only a short while ago with Derby a club that looked like it had potential to challenge for promotion to the Premier League for most seasons between 2013 and 2019.
One player that played a key role in almost all of that period of time at the club was Johnny Russell.
The attacker arrived at Derby in the summer of 2013 from Dundee United after he had enjoyed an impressive 2012/13 campaign in the Scottish Premier League where he scored 20 goals in all competitions.
Russell would make an immediate impression on his debut for Derby in the Championship with him scoring from the spot in a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers on the opening day of the campaign.
The attacker went on to be a very key member of the side throughout a season that saw Nigel Clough be replaced by Steve McClaren, who then managed to guide his side on an impressive run of form to challenge for promotion.
In total, Russell managed to score nine goals in 43 appearances in his first season with the Rams. However, he could not help them over the line to promotion with them losing a dramatic play-off final in the last minute against ten-man QPR.
The following campaign saw Russell again play a key role for the Rams with him scoring eight goals in 46 appearances in all competitions as Derby missed out on the top-six with an 8th place finish.
In the 2015/16 season, Russell reached double figures for the first and only time in all competitions for the club with him scoring ten times in 50 appearances, but again there would be more play-off heartache with them losing a semi-final over two legs against Hull City.
The 2016/17 season saw the Rams finish in 9th place in an underwhelming campaign and Russell made 36 league appearances scoring twice and providing four assists.
The following season would be his last half season with the Rams and he managed to make 23 Championship appearances and scored four goals in that period.
However, he was allowed to leave the club in January 2018 to sign for MLS outfit Sporting Kansas City.
While Derby once again missed out on promotion to the Championship via the play-offs in 2017/18, Russell was settling into life at his new club. In his first campaign in the MLS he registered ten goals and seven assists in 34 appearances.
In 2019, Russell managed to continue his impressive form and he scored nine goals and provided a further six assists in 28 appearances to really establish himself as one of Sporting Kansas City’s best attacking players.
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The attacker managed ten goal involvements in 2020 for Sporting Kansas City and in 2021 he has enjoyed another productive year so far with him managing to score ten goals and provide six assists in 25 MLS appearances.
Russell was handed the captaincy by Sporting Kansas City in March this year following the departure of Matt Besler and that is a mark of how important he has become to the MLS outfit.
The 31-year-old has recently signed a new contract that keeps him at Sporting Kansas City until 2023 and there is the option to extend that by a further year.
Following his new deal, he took to his personal Instagram account recently to express his delight at being able to commit his future to the club.
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Overall, it is safe to say things have worked out very well for Russell since he left the Rams in January 2018.