Young Manchester City midfielder Tommy Doyle made his competitive debut for the senior team in the 3-1 victory over Southampton on Tuesday. The 18-year-old City Academy graduate featured in the team during pre-season but has had to patiently wait for a chance to make his debut for the club in a competitive game. The Carabao Cup game against Southampton provided the perfect opportunity with regular defensive midfielders out of action.
Both Fernandinho and Rodrigo were missing due to suspension and injury respectively, although it is unlikely the duo would have featured in the game even if available. Manager Pep Guardiola chose to use the occasion to hand City U21 captain, Thomas Doyle, a place in the starting line up. Composed and fearless with a desire for the ball and an eye for a pass, the Academy product looked ready for a step up.
It was quite fitting for Doyle to make his competitive debut for the club in the League Cup. He is a grandson of two City legends - Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe - who both scored to lift the trophy at Wembley in 1970. A City fan, the youngster relished the moment, posting a simple expression on Instagram after the game:
“What a feeling!”
He played alongside other Academy graduates Eric Garcia and Phil Foden who both gave a good account of themselves in the game. Garcia partnered Nicolas Otamendi in central defence while Foden operated as Doyle’s partner in midfield. With continuous development, the trio alongside the likes of Adrian Bernabe Garcia, Ian Carlo Poveda and Stockport-born defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis represent the future at the club.
Learning under Guardiola means that this group could develop into becoming some of the best players in the world in the near future. City will be all the better for it long after the Catalan-born manager is gone.
For now though, Doyle’s immediate goal should be to provide capable backup in defensive midfield, one the manager can call upon whenever there's a need. Making the transition to become a regular first-team player in due course should be topmost on his mind.