Legendary blood and described by Guardiola as "special" - Who is Manchester City's Tommy Doyle, linked with Sheffield United loan?
Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanović and his recruitment team are scouring the talent pools of Premier League clubs in an attempt to bolster his squad ahead of the new Championship season, and a young player from the champions of England has been mentioned as a possible loan signing.
Tommy Doyle, aged 19, is the captain of City’s U23 side and has already played for Pep Guardiola’s side in the Premier League and Champions League.
Reports in the north-west suggest as many as 10 Championship clubs are keen on signing him ahead of the new season, with United – short on midfield options, with Sander Berge being eyed up by other clubs and John Lundstram already departed – thought to be amongst them.
But who is Doyle, what’s his background and what sort of player is he?
A true blue
A supporter of City since birth, Doyle is the grandson of two City legends in Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe and joined their academy at just eight years old.
He graduated through City’s age groups and was also capped by England at under 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 levels. He captained the U20s on his debut last year, after impressing Guardiola and becoming a part of his matchday squad.
Debuts in the League and FA Cups preceded a Premier League bow, before he was introduced as a substitute in a Champions League victory away at Olympiacos last season.
What’s he like, then?
Doyle is described by those who know him best in Manchester as a midfielder who can play a range of different roles, including box-to-box and also sitting deep.
He scored four goals and registered 10 assists in 18 games for City’s U23s last season, so likes to get involved, and is industrious as well as inventive.
A highlights reel to showcase his best moments shows him dropping deep to collect the ball in an England shirt before spreading the play, and he isn’t shy of pulling the trigger himself either.
Doyle has spoken before about the influence of Kyle Walker on his development, and no doubt the defender would put in a good word about his boyhood club.
What have they said?
City boss Guardiola described Doyle as “a player with a special quality”.
"He takes it, shoots. Another Man City fan,” Guardiola added. “A historic family, the historic Doyle family. The minutes he plays, he plays good.”
In his own words, Doyle says he loves a tackle and will never back down from one, which would stand him in good stead if he does end up in the Championship next season.
Will it happen?
Earlier this summer, Guardiola said that some of City’s youngsters may be allowed out on loan, depending on who the club bring in themselves. “It depends on that,” Guardiola said. “There are two or three who will be regularly training with us and may be part of the squad."
If they do follow up their interest in Doyle, United will face competition from a number of their second-tier rivals – but their previous work, in developing young players such as Dean Henderson and Ethan Ampadu, may yet work in their favour.