Position: Central Midfielder
Age: 37 *
At Club Since: Summer 2017
Total Club League Appearances (Goals): 328(26) *
Last season, Doyle’s importance to the side was centred on his leadership qualities and how he broke up the play in front of the defence, this year, in a higher division, Doyle has somehow become a more important player and strangely for his passing and set-piece abilities. Doyle has made himself the beating heart of this side, and club as a whole, since his return in 2017, a model professional, a leader on the pitch in both intangible and practical terms, and someone who just seems to get what this club is about in a positive manner. Typified as a midfield bastard of limited technical ability, Doyle has shown a level of maturity and control in his performances in his second spell at the club while also being able to access those aggressive qualities that can be crucial in muscling tight games in our favour.
In terms of his impact on the style of play of the team at the minute, Doyle is important in two ways. Firstly, his set-piece deliveries are consistent and accurate, which have been a huge reason why we have become much more threatening this season from dead-ball situations. Secondly, Doyle seems to set the tempo of the side overall, from those quick free-kicks he is always looking to take to the fact that he is the first pass out of defence. Unlike the other defensive-minded midfielders in this team, Doyle takes much more risks in his passing, tending to hit passes up to the forwards very early – often in a blind, haphazard manner – but because the rest of the side is used to him doing so, we’re seeing the other players in the side make the runs required to make those blind early passes work, and it puts pressure on opposing defences. The concern heading into this season was that Doyle would fade as his age catches up to him, right now, there looks to be little trouble of that happening.
*As of 27/11/2018