Peter Houston’s warning to Russell over early move

FORMER Dundee United manager Peter Houston has warned striker Johnny Russell that he could end up in the football wilderness if he rushes into a move away from Tannadice.

Houston was at the helm when David Goodwillie made a £2million move to Blackburn Rovers in 2011 and, five months later, he was powerless to stop Scott Allan joining West Brom after just nine United first-team games.

The talented duo have struggled to make an impact south of the border, with Goodwillie sent on loan to Crystal Palace and Allan spending spells with Portsmouth and MK Dons.

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Russell has denied he is ready to leave United – “I’ve asked to leave United? Well, that’s news to me! Would never do that to a club that has given me so much,” he wrote on his Twitter account – but interest in the player is high and Houston has warned him to put 
career before bank balance.

“Look at David Goodwillie, he will have made a small fortune. But where has his career gone?” said Houston. “I understand players want to go, but they need to be given the right advice. Will Johnny Russell make money? Yes. Will he improve as a player? I’m not sure. He should stay and learn and carry on developing, get into the Scotland team and make sure that is the priority. The most important thing is making sure he is playing first-team football at Dundee United.

“I look back to when we had Scott Allan, who was a Scotland under-21 international and had played a few games for Dundee United. I saw him as a future talent for Dundee United. Where is he now?

“His agent moved him on and thought West Brom was the right club. If he had stayed in the SPL he would have become a better player at that standard, because 
no-one can convince me it is not as good as the level he is playing at now.”

Houston believes United should hold out for a fee of £2m for Russell – five times the bid tabled by Serie A outfit Catania which was rejected by the Taysiders.

“Dundee United should be getting the money that he is worth and that is certainly more than €450,000.

“If you look at the English Premiership and Championship, there are players changing hands for a lot more than £2m – and for players that, in my opinion, are not as good or as talented as Johnny Russell.”