Russell eager to help national squad youngsters
Bermuda international Antwan Russell hopes to lend a helping hand to the rising stars in the national squad set-up as the Island Games trials continue tonight.
Russell is one of the senior members of the squad who has been selected to attend training this month in an attempt to secure a place in Andrew Bascome’s side for the upcoming Games on local soil.
Hopeful of making the final cut, the Robin Hood striker is looking to give back to the programme, the same way the senior players on the team embraced him when he broke into the squad.
“The younger guys on the team make the more senior guys enjoy the game,” said Russell. “These guys show hunger and dedication and can push the country to new heights if they stay focused and it is up to the senior players to help them while also performing themselves.
“I remember at one point I was one of the youngest players and the older players helped me so it something new to me to be playing with younger guys in the national team. It should be exciting times heading forward.”
A key factor to Russell’s participation in the Games is his ambition to play overseas, with Toronto FC being a possible destination, having impressed last year in trials.
He is hoping to become the third Islander to sign for the Canadian outfit who suffered a disappointing season and ended bottom of the Eastern Conference, with Reggie Lambe and Freddy Hall playing for the club last term.
The 25-year-old spent a week training with Toronto in August and is understood to have impressed former head coach Paul Mariner who wanted another look at the pacy striker before the end of the season.
Mariner, however, has since been replaced at the helm of the MLS side by Queens Park Rangers player Ryan Nelsen who won’t take the reins until the English season ends.
While it is uncertain on where he will be come March when the MLS season kicks off, Russell said he was honoured to be a part of the Bermuda national squad.
“It is always an honour to play for your country but to be playing on home soil and having the chance to play in a competition of this magnitude will be exciting to say the least.
“Every time you put on your country’s colours it is a joy, so I just want to go out, play well in these games and get selected to the side.
“Hopefully my professional career won’t stop me from playing, but everything happens for a reason so I’m playing it by ear at the moment and just enjoying the game.
“On home turf you always get a sense of pressure to succeed and that won’t change in this competition. I hope everyone is up for the challenge so I’m just hoping to make the team.”
Trial matches will continue tonight. Players are asked to be there for 5.45pm for a 6.30 kick off at BFA Field.
RED SELECT: Daniel Johnson, Troy Hall, Jesse Seymour, Kor-van Tucker, Aston Bell, Trevin Ming, Dominique Williams, Jason Davis, Tyrell Burgess, Moses Steede, Keishan Bean, Dimitri Daniels, Raequan Rochester, Dennis Russell, Johnathan Bean, Lashun Dill, Ian Coke, Cecoy Robinson, Johnny Ball, Domico Coddington
BLUE SELECT: Tahj Bell, Treadwell Gibbons, Conneko Trott, Darius Cox, Deandre Trott, Marquel Waldron, Devrae Tankard, Keman Tucker, Drewonde Bascome, Kiuno Cann, Terrance Webb, Christopher Caisey, Zaire Burchall, Vernon Perinchief, Antwan Russell, Shakir Smith, Caldre Burgess, Damon Ming, Jahron Dickinson,