Donaldson will shine for Pools - Wadsworth

Ryan Donaldson. Picture By FRANK REID
Ryan Donaldson. Picture By FRANK REID

MICK Wadsworth believes loan starlet Ryan Donaldson will get “better and better” after making his full league debut for Hartlepool United.

The 19-year-old was thrown into the starting line-up for Tuesday’s visit of Notts County and impressed in a lone role upfront.

The outing was Donaldson’s first since December 8 – when he suffered a knee injury playing for Newcastle United’s reserves – and the youngster did well to battle through 70 minutes before being replaced by James Brown.

And Wadsworth told SportMail today: “I thought Ryan did okay and did enough to say he’ll be a good signing.

“He showed a nice touch and knows where people are.

“He’s got a lovely appreciation of what’s around him and you saw that on two or three occasions and that will get better.”

Donaldson’s arrival did coincide with the end of a seven-hour goal drought, Gary Liddle the man on target during the 1-1 draw.

The start was the England youth international’s first ever in the Football League. But with a further seven games scheduled before the expiry of his one-month stay at The Vic, Wadsworth is confident the Newcastle-born frontman will go from strength to strength with an extended run in the side.

“He’ll get better because that was his league debut and I was pleased with him,” he added.

“He’s settled in very well but it’s a huge thing for him because he’s still so young.

“But what I like about him is he’s an intelligent boy and he listens.

“For him he’s desperate to be here and for me that’s a wonderful thing.

“He’s not here under duress and not here because he’s been farmed out – he’s here because he’s keen to do well for himself.

“So I’m sure he’ll get better and better.”

Donaldson was recommended to Wadsworth by his connections within St James’s Park – where he was once assistant manager to Sir Bobby Robson.

First-team opportunities have been limited on Tyneside, although he has been a familiar face in and around the senior set up since the start of last season.

And Wadsworth says that, despite having appeared on just a handful of occasions for his hometown club, Donaldson is nonetheless experienced for his age.

“He’s a young player who has played for England at various levels,” said the Pools boss.

“Because of that he’s got a good pedigree. He’s also been training with top, top players every day for the past two years and that can only make you a better player.

“He’s got a good record at youth and reserve level as well so we’re looking forward to seeing him develop here and I believe he’ll do a great job for us.”