The 2021/22 season looks set to bring a big opportunity for Callum Doyle.
Having come through the academy ranks at Manchester City, the current campaign now looks set to give the 17-year-old centre back the first chance of regular first-team football in his career.
That’s after the summer transfer window saw the teenager secure a season-long loan move to Sunderland, as the Black Cats target promotion back to the Championship from League One.
While those at Sunderland will be hoping Doyle can help their side back to the Championship, there will be plenty more back at The Etihad keen to see how the defender fares during his time with the Black Cats.
So with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at how Doyle has started life at the Stadium of Light in the past few weeks.
How’s it gone so far?
While this may be Doyle’s first experience of senior action on a week in, week out basis, it does seem as though the teenager has settled in rather well.
The centre back has played every minute of Sunderland’s league campaign so far, evidently making himself an important figure at the heart of the Black Cats’ defence.
Indeed, with Sunderland winning four and losing just one of those five league games so far to put themselves in early contention for an automatic promotion spot, things are going well for Doyle at the Stadium of Light up until now.
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What issues does he face?
While things have gone well for Doyle in his Sunderland career so far, there is still plenty of time for that to change.
Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has plenty of options other than Doyle to call upon, such as Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan and West Ham loanee Frederick Alves, with Arbenit Xhemajli also likely to be eyeing a return from injury in the coming months.
As a result, Doyle can ill-afford a dip in form with plenty of other waiting in the wings to take his place in the side, given the importance of results to a side such as Sunderland who are expected to challenge for promotion this season.
Doyle will no doubt hope for plenty more game time for Sunderland in the weeks to come.
That is something he ought to get, with the Blacks Cats through to the Third Round of the League Cup, and a game to rearrange after seeing their trip to Sheffield Wednesday postponed due to international call-ups.
With that in mind, the test of coping with regular, high-profile football that City were no doubt hoping for Doyle to experience during this loan spell, now looks set to be on the cards for the teenager.