Tommy Doyle lays out Sheffield United loan blueprint after Man City future hint

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Doyle lays out Lane loan blueprint after successful spell helped Blades to promotion

When Sheffield United enter the loan market this summer in a bid to bolster their squad to cope with the rigours of Premier League football, they will be hoping for an impact similar to that of Tommy Doyle during their promotion season.

The Manchester City youngster played a key role as Paul Heckingbottom’s men reached the last four of the FA Cup and secured promotion to the top-flight, sparking a clamour amongst United supporters for him to return to Bramall Lane next season.

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With the Premier League a lot stricter on loan arrangements than the EFL - top-flight clubs can only lend two players from domestic rivals and only one from one club - United cannot again borrow Doyle and his City teammate McAtee, with officials at the Etihad privately expecting the Blades to launch a bid to sign Doyle on a permanent.

Both the likely fee he would command, and his considerable salary at his parent club, would appear prohibitive. But Doyle impressed coaching staff, teammates and fans alike with both his ability and attitude during his time in South Yorkshire and he and McAtee have, in many ways, set the benchmark for any temporary signings this summer.

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For their part, City will be heartened by Doyle’s admission that he has matured, both as a player and as a person, by his spell in Sheffield. “We’ve been in the spotlight all season and been in the top two most of the season.

“So we’ve had to improve and be ruthless when we needed to be. I’ve enjoyed it and ultimately become a better player from it, so I’m very happy.

“I have had that expectation [to win, from growing up at City] but I’ve had it when it’s meant a lot but it’s not really meant everything. It was U23s football, and you’re there to learn and improve and enjoy it. Whereas here, you have to win.

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“I did have that in the academy but the prize here was a lot greater, getting promoted to the Premier League. I’ve learned a lot from the players here, they’ve helped me a lot, and it’s something I’ll always appreciate. Wherever I go, I’ll be in contact with them and bring in what they’ve taught me.”

Doyle has admitted on several occasions now that he would be open to returning to Bramall Lane, if the deal is right. Whatever happens he ruled out returning to City’s U23 side and, at 21 years old, is keen to taste top-flight football after two loan spells in the Championship and one in the German second tier.

“I don’t think I’ll ever play 23s now,” he insisted. “I want to play Premier League football so I’ve got to figure out what’s best for me and for everyone who’s involved. So we’ll see what happens.”

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