MacDonald's lovin' life at Latics!
Shaun MacDonald is hoping his promotion expertise will rub off on his new Wigan Athletic colleagues as he settles in at the DW Stadium.
The Wales international has already helped previous clubs Swansea and Bournemouth climb from League One to the Premier League in quick succession.
And after last weekend completing his move to Wigan – who of course topped the third tier last term to book their place back in the Championship – MacDonald is hoping to make it third time lucky with his new club.
“The Championship is a very competitive league – very hard on the players especially, with Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday games,” he told the Evening Post.
“Everyone has to know their job, and I feel that is what this club has got here.
“You look at the teams that have managed to successfully through the leagues, and most of them have a certain style of play and are good at what they do – whether that’s passing the ball or counter-attacking.
“We’ve got some very good players, a very good manager, and a staff that is willing to help the players, which is important.
“If you’re all pushing in the right direction, with the fans on board as well, then you can get there.”
Having been there and done it at two prevoious clubs, MacDonald is certainly qualified to comment.
He started off in the same Swansea midfield as Rob erto Martinez before the Spaniard eventually took charge and guided the Swans to the third tier title.
And he only moved on to Bournemouth after Brendan Rodgers had taken over and completed the job started by Martinez.
While on the south coast, MacDonald played a key role as Eddie Howe’s men won two promotions in the space of three seasons to reach the Promised Land.
“I was at Swansea before Bournemouth, and it was a similar story there,” the 28-year-old recognised.
“We were in League One, a not-very-big club, and all of a sudden became a Premier League club.
“At Bournemouth the same thing happened, and hopefully it can be the same here at Wigan.”
After signing too late to play against Blackburn last weekend, MacDonald made his Latics debut off the bench in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Birmingham.
And he had a great view as Nick Powell and Will Grigg helped to lay on a deserved equaliser for fellow substitute Craig Davies in the very last minute.
“It’s always good to come on and make your debut, and even better that the team managed to score a late equaliser,” he acknowledged.
“I thought there was only one team in it in the second half, and I think it’s a good point moving forwards.
“It’s always difficult when a team goes 1-0 up and then puts the blocks on.
“They’re hard to break down, but the boys came out, we gave it our all, and we got there.
“The gaffer just told me the information I needed to come on and help the team.
“I came on and did that the best I could.
“It’s a great set of lads here, the staff too, behind the scenes, I’ve been made to feel very welcome.
“I’m still settling in, still learning, and in the coming weeks hopefully I’ll get stronger.”
Having made the big move from the south coast to the north west, MacDonald admits he’s reading up as quickly as possible on his new surroundings.
“Everyone keeps mentioning places, and I haven’t a clue where they are!” ha laughed.
“I think it’ll take a little bit of time to adjust, it’s a different chapter in my life, but I’m happy to be here.
“I just think this is a great club.
“You look at the history, and it’s a great club to join.
“It was a no-brainer for me really, and with the style of play that finished it off for me.”
And he is far from daunted about the prospect of locking horns with the likes of Max Power, David Perkins, Alex Gilbey and fellow new recruit Jordi Gomez for a starting spot in the engine room.
“We’ve got very good players all across the park, but the midfield especially is very competitive,” MacDonald added.
“With our style of play we can hopefully cause a lot of teams problems moving forwards.”
Latics boss Gary Caldwell certainly didn’t have any hesitation in bringing him in less than 24 hours after sanctioning the sale of fellow-Wales international Emyr Huws to Cardiff.
“Shaun will be a quality addition to the squad,” Caldwell assessed. “He’s a terrific pro who understands the way we want to play, a skilful midfielder capable of fitting into our system.
“He is a great person, too, with a great attitude, who has gone through a similar experience at Bournemouth to where we are now – a team coming up from League One to the Championship and playing a certain brand of football.
“The fact he also has recent international experience with Wales shows exactly how highly he is rated.”