SHEFFIELD UNITED: Kevin McDonald looks to repay debt of gratitude to Blades

Magic man: Sheffield United and former Scotland under-21 international Kevin McDonald Picture: Star Photographer
Magic man: Sheffield United and former Scotland under-21 international Kevin McDonald Picture: Star Photographer
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AS a youngster he dreamed of emulating Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Viera.

But, having thrown in his lot with Sheffield United this summer, Kevin McDonald heads to Coventry City tonight harbouring less lofty ambitions.

Pass the ball. Win the game. Just get the job done.

“Coming out on top is the most important thing,” he said. “Making sure we try and take three points.

“Of all the teams who came down from the Championship you’d say that, at the moment, Coventry look the most likely to be challenging again.

“And we are capable of doing exactly the same.”

McDonald, who four weeks ago signed a new contract with last season’s League One play-off finalists, started his career as a striker.

Now, the former Scotland under-21 international is a midfielder with magic in his boots.

Nevertheless, despite possessing passing repertoire which makes him the envy of his peers, McDonald used yesterday’s pre-match media briefing at Shirecliffe to speak candidly about both his flaws and personal targets for the 2012/13 campaign.

“Zidane and Viera were world class,” he said. “But, closer to home, I always used to really admire Barry Ferguson at Rangers because technically he was so strong.

“Then you had Neil Lennon at Celtic. He used to get some real stick as a player but you very rarely saw him give the ball away.

“Perhaps that made some sort of impression on me. I don’t know.

“I definitely want to add some goals to my game though. That’s one area where I can definitely improve.

“The manager here wants me to get forward a little bit more this season and get into positions similar to the ones where Quinny (Stephen Quinn) operates. If I can work a little bit further forward, into the ‘hole,’ then that should give me more opportunities to shoot.”

McDonald has been good for United. But, as he told The Star during their recent tour of Malta, United have been good for McDonald too. Something he acknowledged had been a major factor behind his decision to stay put when the subject was raised again yesterday.

“Yes, I spoke to other clubs because I didn’t know if I’d get what I was looking for here,” McDonald, who started Saturday’s victory over Shrewsbury Town, said. “There were options in the Championship but if you enjoy it somewhere then why leave?

“For me, that doesn’t make sense. United gave me a chance and hopefully I’ve gone some way towards repaying that.”