Tommy Doyle exclusive: Wolves star on becoming the ‘complete’ midfielder and Gary O’Neil’s demands

In an exclusive interview, Wolves midfielder Tommy Doyle discusses his best attributes, playing under Gary O’Neil, and how loan moves have prepared him for the Premier League; watch Fulham vs Wolves live on Sky Sports from 6.30pm on Monday; kick-off 8pm

Image: Wolves have an option to buy Manchester City midfielder Tommy Doyle for £4.3m at the end of the season

Tommy Doyle is just getting started at Wolves.

A line-breaking pass that helped turn the tide against Bournemouth. A quick free-kick that led to a dramatic late winner against Tottenham. A goal-saving block against Spurs in the same game. Three key moments in only 166 minutes of Premier League football this season.

Despite starting once and appearing five more times as a substitute, Doyle has already had an influential impact at Molineux following his loan move from Manchester City in the summer transfer window.

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“I feel really comfortable and feel like I’m performing well,” he exclusively tells Sky Sports ahead of Wolves’ trip to Fulham on Monday Night Football.

“The players, the staff, everyone around the club has been brilliant. I’ve not been here long and I’m still working my way into the team, but I’m fine with that. I wasn’t expecting it all to happen right away.

“I feel like I can perform and reach new heights, but that will come in time which is an exciting thing for me.”

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FREE TO WATCH: Doyle’s quick free-kick started the move that led to Wolves’ late winner against Tottenham before the international break

‘Dictating and becoming the complete midfielder’

The stats suggest Doyle is having a positive effect on matches too. Among Premier League midfielders this term, per 90 minutes he ranks sixth for passes completed, second for both long passes attempted and successful passes in the opposition half, fourth for forward passes, and first for ball recoveries.

The 22-year-old’s technical ability in possession is something he prides himself on. He wants to make a difference – but not just going forward.

“I would say my best attributes are getting on the ball and trying to dictate the play from a deep position,” he says. “Trying to find my attacking players through the lines is something I like to do most.

“When you have players like Pedro (Neto), (Matheus) Cunha, (Hee-Chan) Hwang – just to name a few – to get them in those gaps and turning and driving at defenders, that’s exactly what we want. That’s what I try to do, to get the attacking players who have that spark in those positions.

“But nowadays, you have to try to be as flexible as possible. As a midfielder, I want to be as complete as possible and I’m still trying to progress on both sides of the game – in attack and defence.

“You can always improve and with the manager and staff we’ve got now, I’m doing that every day.”

Doyle: O’Neil challenges you all the time

Doyle’s comments are a testament to the fine work Wolves boss Gary O’Neil has done since taking charge of the club in August.

The former Bournemouth head coach has already earned landmark wins over Manchester City and Tottenham this term and treated Sky Sports subscribers to a fascinating, in-depth breakdown of his coaching methods on Monday Night Football last month.

That approach has become the norm at the Sir Jack Hayward training ground, with O’Neil keen to stimulate the minds of his players.

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Wolves head coach Gary O’Neil dissects how his side completed an impressive second-half comeback against Bournemouth in October

“He’s really good,” says Doyle. “Obviously, he’s really detailed as you would have seen, which is something we like as players. You’re constantly challenging yourself and thinking about the game and different scenarios.

“I feel really comfortable in terms of what he asks from me. He wants me to always be available. Whether it’s for your centre-half, your full-back, or your forwards. It’s about being there for your team-mates.”

‘Loans have prepared me perfectly for Premier League’

Having been at Manchester City since the age of eight, Doyle made his Premier League debut as an 18-year-old at the end of the 2019-20 season to follow in the footsteps of his legendary grandfathers Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe.

But a 15-minute cameo in a 5-0 win over Newcastle remains Doyle’s only top-flight appearance for City. Loans at Hamburg and Cardiff followed before a hugely successful 2022/23 season with Sheffield United gave the England youngster, who won the European U21 Championship in July, the belief to test himself again at the highest level.

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FREE TO-WATCH: Doyle played a key role in Wolves’ equaliser against Bournemouth last month

“All the loans I’ve had have set me up perfectly, especially the one at Sheffield United. It prepared me for the Premier League and made me feel like I was ready,” he says.

Doyle’s impact at Bramall Lane was impressive. His four goals and seven assists in 38 appearances across all competitions helped the Blades earn promotion to the Premier League and reach the FA Cup semi-finals, while he also won the club’s Goal of the Season award for his strike against Blackburn.

“As soon as you go out and play men’s football every week, it makes a massive difference,” Doyle adds. “When I was with Pep (Guardiola) I was still mainly playing U21s football. I was getting the odd game here and there for him, but once you’re out there playing men’s football regularly, you learn a lot more.

“They’ve all been good and successful loans for me. Now I’m on an exciting new adventure at Wolves and I’m ready to kick on.”

Watch Fulham vs Wolves live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30pm on Monday Night Football; kick-off 8pm.


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