Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Callum Doyle’s central defensive partner has revealed how the Manchester City teenager has come to life in League One.

Doyle – who turned 18 last week – joined Sunderland on a season-long loan deal – and has had an impressive start to the season, having started nine out of 11 games so far.

When he first joined, however, his teammates were not overly convinced.

Tom Flanagan and Doyle have formed a promising defensive partnership in which the experienced 29-year-old speaks honestly about the Blues kid.

When Flanagan first heard of a young center-back from City, he admitted he had a few questions – and a pair of eyebrows were raised.

“I remember when we signed him there were big question marks in the locker room, I don’t think anyone is afraid to say that,” Flanagan said.

“He’s 17 and from Man City – can he head a ball? They don’t really do that much in Man City. “

But after watching Doyle come in, working hard on training before the season – there is no doubt that he quickly earned the respect of his teammates.

On match day, he put it all together in his first match of the pre-season – and has not looked back since.

Flanagan said: “He has stood up to every single test and he is getting better and better.

“He gets a period outside the team [because he’s young] and that’s what’s happening, but he’s an excellent player, not just in our team, but in the league. “

Callum Doyle in Manchester City’s development page

Flanagan remembered a moment when Doyle showed his make-up and came in as a replacement as Sunderland had been 4-0 down.

He said: “He came on the field and no one will join that fight, especially as a defender.

“As a midfielder, winger, they can change the game, but as a defensive player, they run around 100 miles per hour. Everyone is at the pace of the match and you stand still.

“It was a tough game and he showed up in tough conditions against good opponents.”

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Following recent impressive performances, the central defender spends the international break with England under the 19s.

At the age of just 18, Doyle could spend a few more years with City’s development team before being considered for first-team football.

However, Flanagan hopes that the youngster will return to Sunderland for another season – at the same time as the regular first-team football would be more beneficial for his development rather than in City’s youth sides.

Flanagan hopes a new deal can be agreed, but knows Doyle has a growing list of admirers.

He spends the season with Sunderland

He said: “It will be brilliant if the club can hold on to him after this, but I think there are a lot of people who want Callum if he continues the way he goes.

“They (Manchester City) played Wycombe in the cup the other day, and I saw a few. Callum could have joined that team. He is with us and we are very, very lucky.

“I think he enjoys it and he wants to go back and play football under the age of 23 at some point and think ‘what am I doing here?’ He plays men’s football and will be head and shoulders above the rest of them.

“I think the attitude he has shown to teach the other parts of the game has been brilliant and I honestly do not have a bad word to say about him.

“He is a really good character in the locker room, he works really hard and he has stood up to every test. It’s an honor for Callum. ”

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