Thrust into a key role in defence this season due to a combination of injuries to other players and struggles in the transfer market, Callum Doyle has become one of Coventry City’s most important players. For a defender still in his teenage years and not blessed with outstanding physical attributes to have been a largely steady, occasionally stand-out, performer in the Championship is a remarkable feat. In an ideal world, however, there would have been less onus on a player of Callum Doyle’s profile to be a first-choice player. Occasional valuable opportunities for a rest having not been possible for him, leading to a few lapses from him that have been the result of fatigue as much as inexperience.
Callum Doyle’s stand-out qualities in Coventry City’s back three are his ability to both pass the ball at long-range and stride with possession into the midfield. Doyle has often acted as an additional playmaker for this Sky Blues team this season, picking long cross-field passes to open the play up, or even just in how he is an outlet for the goalkeeper and other defenders around him to play that first pass out of defence. As a pure defender, it is Doyle’s positioning and timing in the challenge that are his strengths, however, that only goes some way to overcoming his slight physical frame versus more powerful opponents, and that has been where he has been targeted on several occasions.
Due to having been put in a more prominent role than might have been planned for, Callum Doyle has developed markedly over the course of this season. Far more confident and, even physically stronger, than he was at the start of the campaign, that has allowed Doyle’s outstanding technical attributes to come to the fore. It hasn’t been a development process without errors along the way, however, Doyle is someone who looks to learn well from making mistakes. As the end of the season approaches, the downside with Doyle from a Coventry City perspective is that the club is unlikely to get close to reaping the full benefits of an important year of development from the young centre-back.