Angel Di Maria has promised to give me his shirt after the game: Cambridge United's Ryan Donaldson
Cambridge United midfielder Ryan Donaldson has revealed that that Manchester United winger Angel Di Maria has promised to give him his shirt at the end of the FA Cup fourth round replay that takes place at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. United were held to a 0-0 draw at the R Costings Abbey Stadium last month.
“Although Angel Di Maria has promised me his shirt – I hope he doesn’t want mine because we’re running low and need to pay £40 to replace them if we do swap!” Donaldson told Sportsmail.
He also said that he and the rest of the team were extremely disappointed after the result in the first leg and said that they were looking to emulate Bradford City, who knocked out Chelsea in the fourth round at Stamford Bridge, on Tuesday.
“But we were a bit gutted over the next couple of days because we thought we were going to be the headline act – then Bradford go and win at Chelsea. But we’re dreaming of doing a Bradford now, it just shows what can happen with a bit of discipline and belief and we’re not just going for the occasion,” The 23-year-old said.
Donaldson added that he was very happy after receiving the man-of-the-match in the first leg and showered praises on the opposition.
“The first game was incredible. They’ve been criticised and we think they got a rollicking at half-time, but honestly, they’re so good. But we did so well and got what we deserved. For me, to get man-of-the-match was brilliant,” he said.
‘I hear Alan (Shearer) spoke really well about me at half-time and I think that bumped the vote up – us Geordies have got to stick together,” he added.
Everyone gives it their best, but only a few make it to the top: Donaldson
Donaldson was part of the England’s Under-17 squad that also had the likes of Phil Jones and Jack Wilshire. While the other two have moved on to play for much more established clubs, Donaldson isn't too unhappy about playing for a lower division club and doesn't understand what he hype is all about.
“I don’t think all of the hype helps when you get tagged as the next such and such. I was just a school kid loving playing for my hometown club.
“When I got released I’d been there 12 years and it was difficult, but it was a bit of a relief at the same time and I admit I wasn’t good enough.But when players get released too many drop out of the game– they lose hope and think their chance has gone.
“For me, when you’re in those England squads, everyone builds you up. But in reality, only a few make it at the very top.
“Others have to drop down and rebuild their career, I’m one of those players,” he said.
Donaldson had a chance to meet England legend Gary Lineker before the first game and he said he was a bit scared to stand with him.
“It was a bit scary standing having a coffee with him in the kitchen. He was making a documentary and probably thought it was a bit strange all of us living together, but it works for us.
“We all get on well – there’s the odd argument over dishes or making the tea or playing darts, but I find living with the lads helps, especially being so far from home,” he said.