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Full Name: Ryan Mark Donaldson
Born: 01 May 1991
Came from: Cambridge United Went to: Released
First game: 06 August 2016 Last game: 11 March 2017
Appearances: 33 (16/17) Goals: 2
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Donaldson joined his hometown's academy at the age of nine and appeared for Newcastle's reserve side at just 15, becoming their captain less than three years later. By the end of the 2008-09 season he had worked himself to the brink of the first team, and was an unused substitute on a number of occasions as his side were relegated from the Premier League. Newcastle's subsequent one-season stay in English football's second tier offered the midfielder his chance in the senior squad; his five games that season included an 88th minute substitute appearance in their 3-0 FA Cup win over Argyle at St James' Park.
The Magpies' return to the top flight limited Ryan's opportunities and, after one more appearance for Newcastle, he headed out for three months on loan at Hartlepool United in January 2011, followed by a month at Tranmere Rovers that September.
A right-footed player with excellent ball-striking ability, Donaldson blossomed at Gateshead, for whom he signed in August 2012 after his release from Newcastle. Eight goals and plenty more assists in 43 games was enough for other clubs to take note, and the England under-17 and under-19 international departed the Tynesiders after a single campaign to join an ambitious Cambridge United side with high hopes of a return to the Football League.
He had a memorable opening season with the U's, receiving the Man of the Match award in two visits to Wembley Stadium. He first scored two of Cambridge's four goals against Gosport Borough in the FA Trophy final, before scoring a free-kick in the Conference play-off final against his previous club, Gateshead.
A midfielder with the ability to play centrally or on the flank, Donaldson remained an important part of the United first team upon their promotion to League Two. He started their first game of the 2014-15 season - a 1-0 win over Argyle - and made 43 more appearances that campaign, scoring seven goals. 33 more games followed in his third season with the club, playing more of an 'impact substitute' role after a change of manager in November 2015.
Donaldson left the U's at the end of the 2015-16 season after a total of 110 games and 14 goals, and a month later became Derek Adams' first signing for the 2016-17 campaign. However, he struggled to win a regular place in the side, with his appearances almost an even mix of starts and substitutions.
At the end of the season he was released and a month later he was back in his native North East, signing for one of his former clubs, National League side Hartlepool United, who were bidding to make an immediate return to the Football League, having dropped out for the first time in 96 years.
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APPEARANCE DETAILS [reselect competitions]
The details below reflect appearances in all first-team competitions.
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