MENTOR Alan Curtis has revealed Shaun MacDonald’s “unbelievable talent” earned him the nickname ‘Zidane’ among a host of Premier League stars at Swansea.

Curtis helped nurture the midfielder through the ranks at the Welsh club and was one of the coaches MacDonald sought advice from before he decided to join Cherries.

MacDonald, who also worked with Curtis in the Wales set up, has shown glimpses of his quality during four appearances for Lee Bradbury’s men.

The 23-year-old, who could eventually cost the club around £150,000, could return for Saturday’s trip to Tranmere after missing the past three games due to a toe injury.

Curtis told the Daily Echo: “Shaun has fantastic ability and was as technically gifted as any other player while he was here. We have got a host of different nationalities and Shaun was on a par with all of them. The players at Bournemouth will soon realise his ability is almost second to none.

“I know it was a big gamble for Bournemouth in terms of the outlay but they have got a fantastic young player on their hands who is going to get better and better. I hope he gets back soon because it is important to establish yourself quickly.

“We do an exercise here which is all about keeping possession and the other players called him Zidane because he never gave away the ball. If he did, there was something wrong somewhere and either someone else had made a bad pass or the groundsman needed sacking!”

MacDonald, who is the most-capped Wales under-21 international, opted to sever ties with his hometown club just weeks after Swans had returned to the Premier League. He first joined the club as a six-year-old in soccer schools run by Curtis.

“I have known him a long time,” said Curtis. “I know we are a Premier League club but it was just a question of Shaun not quite being able to break through into the first team. There was a realisation that he was probably going to have to move to progress his career.

“It was a difficult decision for him but we all felt that Bournemouth was a well-run club and they try to play football the right way. Sometimes, you have got to step back a bit before you can go forward again.

“He suffered a little here because he played wide right or left when he was in the first team and is probably better as a central midfielder. He is equally as talented playing at centre-half and was man of the match when he played at the back in a few reserve games.

“He is such a creative player and that will soon become apparent once he gets a run of games for Bournemouth. His performances will help the team get stronger and stronger.”

• The Echo was informed by Cherries that it would not be possible to interview Eddie Mitchell, Shaun MacDonald, Lee Bradbury, Shwan Jalal or Neil Moss. The paper was also told there would be no further opportunities to interview players or management this week.

• Cherries have been charged with misconduct by the FA following the players’ reaction to a tackle on Warren Cummings during Saturday’s game against Hartlepool. The club could be fined around £2,500.