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.”