Sheffield United: Cherries star turns his back on Wembley

Single-minded: Shaun MacDonald is concerned only about today.
Single-minded: Shaun MacDonald is concerned only about today.
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A PATRIOTIC Welshman and proud son of Swansea, Shaun MacDonald should be preparing for a day out at Wembley, writes James Shield.

But with Sheffield United due to arrive in Dorset this afternoon, the AFC Bournemouth midfielder has a much more pressing engagement on his mind.

The business of trying to reach the Championship next term takes priority over watching close friends and confidants contest tomorrow’s Capital One Cup final with Bradford City.

“I thought about going and catching up with a few of the guys,” MacDonald, who started his career at the Liberty Stadium, told The Star. “But we’ve got a really big game coming up and then a quick turnaround for another on Tuesday so I decided against it.

“I want to keep my focus on doing well here. That’s the most important thing. So I’ll put my feet up at home and watch them on the telly instead.”

MacDonald might have spent much of his time with Swansea on loan at Yeovil Town but those days in the principality are seared into his memory.

Indeed the 24-year-old counts Leon Britton, who briefly played at Bramall Lane, among his mentors.

“I know it didn’t really work out for Leon up there but I could understand why he went because Sheffield United are a massive club,” MacDonald said. “Sometimes that happens but it didn’t change the fact that he’s a quality player.

“I learned so much from people like him. Garry Monk was another because of his leadership qualities and Ashley Williams is another who has gone from strength to strength at domestic and now international level.

“He started at Stockport County and, like at lot of the lads still there, has gone right the way through from the bottom division to the Premier League.”

“When you look at how well Swansea are doing - and where they’ve come from - it just goes to show clubs such as ourselves and Sheffield United what could happen if we go up,” MacDonald added. “But, of course, there is an awful lot of football to be played yet.

“We’ve all had tough times lately but so have Swansea. It wasn’t so long ago they nearly went out of the league altogether but you learn from adversity and things can change so quickly.”

Danny Wilson, the United manager, has made much of the fact that his fourth placed squad possess the experience required to clinch promotion from League One.

MacDonald, a driving force behind Bournemouth’s climb to second, also knows what it takes to prosper in the third tier.

“Being at Yeovil taught me a lot and I was a Swansea player when they got out of this division,” he said. “I’m really enjoying my time here.

“We’re going well and we like to play good football. The same goes for Sheffield United too.

“So although this is going to be a really tough match for both of us, it’s also one to look forward to.”

*Did You Know: MacDonald, who broke former Sheffield United loanee James Thomas’ appearance record for Wales under-21’s, was loaned to Yeovil Town five times during his spell with Swansea.

*Twitter: JamesShield1