“I don’t think the Premier League is too far off. He’s still young enough,” Scottish international Russell told Football Scotland when asked about the 25-year-old Whitecaps star.
“I know what people will be thinking. ‘Oh he has come to the MLS, a dead league’, all that nonsense, but it’s an extremely competitive and tough league.
“It has shown with some of the guys who have done well here, they’ve gone to Europe and the Premier League so it’s definitely not out of the question for Gauld.
“Talent-wise he’s not lost anything, so to me it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him playing in the Premier League.”
Gauld and Russell’s relationship
Gauld’s rise from youth player to senior play at Dundee United overlapped with Russell’s stay with the club, with the latter representing the senior team from 2007-13 after rising through the youth ranks himself.
And Russell says that, from the start, Gauld looked like a different type of player that could do things many at the club couldn’t believe.
“Obviously [at Dundee Utd] I knew about him from the youths, you always heard about him,” Russell said.
“People were always raving about him and when I saw him it was like, ‘This kid’s got something different’. Then I got in the first-team and he was around training. Then when I left that’s when he broke into the team.
“I always kept an eye on United and he did well. He did so so well in Portugal as well and it was good to see him trying different things instead of sticking with the mould of Scotland then maybe England.
“You could always see there was something different, he saw the game in a different way to most people, especially with the age he was.
“He came in like a 14, 15-year old and dominated training, but you can only do that if you’ve got something. And he’s a really good boy with a nice family. He’s a good guy and I think that helped his time with us. He didn’t get carried away.”
A playoff preview?
Russell’s Sporting KC are currently sitting second in the Western Conference and will be among the favorites out West when the playoffs begin next month.
Gauld’s Whitecaps, meanwhile, are pushing for their own spot in the postseason as they sit one point behind Minnesota United for the seventh and final playoff spot in the West.