Callum Doyle took the headlines as Sunderland beat big spending Wigan Athletic 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and Sam Parkin was full of praise for the 17-year-old, speaking to EFL on Quest, as quoted by ChronicleLive.
The Manchester City loanee was tasked with the challenge of keeping Charlie Wyke quiet; the striker who scored 30 goals for the Black Cats last season was tempted away to the DW Stadium this summer as the Latics look to build a squad capable of earning League One promotion.
Doyle – alongside Northern Ireland international Tom Flanagan – was able to limit Wyke to just one shot all game as Sunderland turned the screw to win 2-1.
Saturday was Doyle’s first ever competitive match in men’s football following an impressive youth career at Manchester City, the youngster was able to convert his excellent displays in pre-season onto the main stage and charmed the panel on the Football League highlights show that evening.
Former striker and Football League expert Sam Parkin said: “It was the story of the game. Callum Doyle, they’re purring about him tonight. (Doyle) did a great job up against Charlie Wyke.”
It was important for manager Lee Johnson to get off to a good start in 2021/22 with such immense pressure on his shoulders at the helm of an enormous club for third tier level.
A disappointing end to last term where they fell away from top two contention and lost out in the play-off semi finals has seen the scrutiny around his position increase.
Defensive solidity is a crucial building block in the vast majority of promotion pushes in the Football League, so many managers are adept at organising their rearguards to squeeze points out of games and provide a platform for the attackers to express themselves.
In Sunderland’s case it is no different, the budding partnership of Flanagan and Doyle could be one of the key elements of the team in 2021/22 where they look to go one better than they have in their previous three seasons in League One.
It is going to be a tremendous learning experience for young Doyle, but it is testament to the faith his parent club and the Sunderland hierarchy have in him to acclimatise to men’s football at the first time of asking in such a high pressure environment. He played in front of the largest attendance in the whole of the Football League this weekend.
Black cats purring about @ManCity loanee Callum Doyle 🐈⬛
— Quest (@QuestTV) August 7, 2021