Manchester City midfielder joins Derry City on pre-season Spanish trip

MANCHESTER City's Rowan McDonald has joined Derry City on their pre-season tour in Spain as Ruaidhri Higgins runs his eye over the versatile Englishman during the week-long trip.

The 21 year-old Oldham-born player can operate at both centre half or in a holding midfield role and started Derry's 1-0 friendly defeat to FC Hesperange of Luxembourg at the Pinatar Arena, Spain on Wednesday.

McDonald, a graduate of the English champions' Academy, recently played alongside Erling Haaland, Riyad Mahrez, İlkay Gündoğan and replaced Kevin de Bruyne in a friendly win against Girona at the Academy Stadium in early December when City returned to action after the World Cup.

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The player, who missed the last two seasons through injury, signed a one-year extension to deal at the Etihad but could favour a loan move for regular football rather than playing in City's U23 squad this season.

McDonald was captain for Man City's Premier League U18 Cup success in 2019 and would provide options for Higgins in defence where he is hoping to add competition for Mark Connolly, Shane McEleney and Ciaran Coll and in midfield following the departure of Joe Thomson.

The City youngster was involved in the first half of Wednesday’s friendly match before Higgins made sweeping changes in the second. Derry fell behind after just four minutes following sloppy play from both Cameron Dummigan and Cameron McJannett who lost possession before the Luxembourg team struck.

It was a poor goal to concede but Derry showed some encouraging signs in the opening 45 minutes and Michael Duffy forced a good save from the keeper after 17 minutes. Connolly then headed over from close range before Ryan Graydon’s had a decent effort on target.

Late in the second half Cian Kavanagh, who netted a hat-trick last Sunday against Finn Harps missed a glorious opportunity to add to his preseason tally when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper before Ben Doherty’s follow-up shot hit the side netting.

Derry City Ruaidhrí Higgins. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2305GS – 41

Derry City: Tadhg Ryan; Cameron Dummigan, Mark Connolly, Rowan McDonald, Cameron McJannet; Ryan Graydon, Sadou Diallo, Ben Doherty, Will Patching, Michael Duffy; Jamie McGonigle; Subs: Maher, Boyce, Coll, McEneff, S. McEleney, B. Kavanagh, P. McEleney, McLaughlin, C. Kavanagh.

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Derry City in action in their preseason friendly against FC Swift Hesperange at the Pinatar Arena.