Wilson will be super for Mac, says ex-Owls boss Laws

Sheffield United vs Walsall''Utd's   Kevin McDonald
Sheffield United vs Walsall''Utd's Kevin McDonald

Danny Wilson is being backed as the boss to release Kevin McDonald’s full potential - by the manager who sent the midfielder packing at former club Burnley, writes Alan Biggs

McDonald was dispatched on loan to Scunthorpe last season despite figuring regularly for the Clarets in the Premier League the previous year.

It was a boot up the backside from Burnley’s then manager Brian Laws. Now Laws insists Wilson is on to a winner with his acquisition of McDonald - providing the 22-year-old remedies his fault of “switching off” during matches.

“Kevin has everything in his locker to be a top player,” says Laws. “He’s very, very talented. It’s just a case of unlocking that potential and maybe Danny Wilson will be the man to do it.”

As a former international midfielder with Northern Ireland, besides playing in the top flight, Wilson is well qualified to school McDonald - and the enigmatic Scot would do well to listen.

He has a languid skill rare in such a big man and an ability to give Sheffield United’s midfield the creativity it has lacked for some years.

But as impressive as he can be with the ball, McDonald can look a liability without it. Whether or not it was the ankle knock that has since forced him to miss games, he was invisble during a Walsall-dominated first half at Bramall Lane recently.

Laws added: “Kevin can be anything he wants to be in the game. He’s big, strong, can handle the ball in any situation and get a goal.

“The trouble is that he hasn’t produced on a more consistent basis. One of the weaknesses is that he he switches off at times - and that’s not great for your team. He can let a runner go from midfield, for instance.

“But I know Kevin’s been working on that and if he can get that part of his game right then he certainly has the skill to go higher. He can manipulate the ball so well, see a pass. There’s a flair in his game. And he’s still young enough to iron out any flaws and develop his talent.”

United’s Carling Cup clash at Everton was staged after the Telegraph went to press.