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Darel Russell joins Toronto FC on Trial

A versatile midfield who has played for the likes of Stoke, Norwich, and Portsmouth has joined Toronto FC on trial. Sounds intriguing at the very least.

These are Portsmouth players, they are not Darel Russell
These are Portsmouth players, they are not Darel Russell
Mike Hewitt

Toronto FC has managed to bring another body into camp in hopes of addressing the lack of them in the midfield. Darel Russell has joined the club on a trial according the the team's official twitter feed

Russell is a midfielder who has most often filled a central role but is capable of playing almost anywhere in the midfield or even as a wing back when needed. That versatility has helped the 32 year old Englishman to have a fairly successful journeyman career with some of England's top clubs. He has spent time playing in the Premier League for Stoke City where he was a regular in Tony Pulis' lineup from 2003-2007(EDIT: this was actually before Stoke got promoted into the Premier League, so championship is where he maxed out) . He also enjoyed successful spells at Norwich City (twice), Preston North End, Charlton Athletic, and most recently Portsmouth.

He has managed to make over 500 total appearances in English club football since making his debut with Norwich in 1997. His total number of appearances have dropped off in recent years but he did make 17 appearances for Portsmouth this season before leaving the club at the end of January with his deal running out.

Though his career definitely seems to be on a downslide, he was still making a contribution for top sides in the Championship and League One the past couple of seasons. He is now 32 years old which would suggest that he might still have something left in the tank to offer along with the quality that has allowed him to have such a long career in the English game.

It will be interesting to see where he fits in with Toronto FC should he get the chance to feature in a game down in Orlando. Toronto is fairly well stocked for option in the middle of the park so maybe a return to the roles that he played early in his time with Stoke City would be in order. The club can certainly use some help down the right side of the field so if he can offer that then it might be a good fit.

Problem is that he has not played on the right wing for quite a few years now and during his time at Portsmouth was used as either a central midfielder or a center back. Both of those are positions that TFC are already fairly well stocked at and bringing in another international just for even more depth would not make much sense.

What might seem odd about this move is that in recent weeks Kevin Payne was pretty insistent that players coming from Europe were overpriced and that the club would rather look for talent in South and Central America. Maybe in the case of a player coming off a series of short term deals with Pompey might just represent a good value despite that inflation.

He left Pompey due to their ongoing financial problems so the stability of TFC in that regard might be quite attractive to a player like Russell who is looking for a stable place to spend the last years of his career. He also scored this lovely goal back in the day so that would be a nice bonus if he can chip in with the odd highlight reel strike.