A Homegrown Talent That Didn’t Fulfil a Dream at Swansea

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IT never quite worked out for Shaun MacDonald at Swansea.

dreamBack in August 2005, when the then 17-year-old made his first appearance for the club against Reading in the League Cup, it should have been the start of a fairytale career for a home grown talent who had been born locally, and come through the Swansea youth system.

He went on to play 13 times in that campaign, one that ultimately ended in disappointment when the Swans were beaten on penalties by Barnsley in the League One playoff final. In particular, his display in a pivotal promotion clash against Southend, that finished 2-2 at the Liberty Stadium, suggested Kenny Jackett had unearthed a player of great attacking prowess.

But the opportunity to step up and become a regular first team fixture never came.

MacDonald was used sparingly the following season, appearing just eight times in the league, and 12 overall. And when Spaniard Roberto Martinez took over following Jackett’s demise, and opted to bring in a host of his own midfield personnel, the young winger became an all but anonymous figure.

He made just one league appearance in the title winning season of 2007/2008, before moving to Yeovil Town on loan midway through the season. He was to spend four more loan stints at Huish Park before eventually signing for Bournemouth in August 2011, or a fee believed to be in the region of £125,000.

His final statistics from his time at the Liberty read 40 league and cup appearances in six seasons, and just two goals, suggesting he left South Wales very much an unfulfilled talent.

But four seasons later, MacDonald is a Premiership player with the Cherries, having made 95 appearances for the club in a period that has seen them promoted twice.

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Again this season, he has struggled for first team action, playing just once as a substitute in the top flight to go with two League Cup appearances. Sadly for him, an ironic starting place against the Swans at his former home this Saturday seems unlikely.

However, the 27-year-old deserves great credit for refusing to disappear into oblivion, unlike so many others whose career does not work out in the early stages.

MacDonald is likeable and hard-working, and earlier this year won his second Welsh international cap against Israel. A place in Chris Coleman’s Euro 2016 squad, is not out of the question.

It did not work out at his hometown club in a lower league , and yet he will finish his career with both Premiership and international football to his name.

And should he appear for the visitors tomorrow, expect the Swansea fans to acknowledge the local boy accordingly.

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