Doyle set flair for new start at Sheffield United

Michael Doyle
Michael Doyle

As those accustomed to watching him in Sheffield United colours know, Michael Doyle is a destructive rather than creative force.

Someone willing to immerse himself in the darker arts of midfield play.

Happy to spend his afternoons snapping at the heels of opposition forwards.

But Monday’s victory over Sliema Wanderers, which saw Doyle open the scoring with an immaculate far-post finish before rattling another sweetly-struck attempt against the post, revealed an altogether different side to his character.

One which, according to the 29-year-old, has spent the past few seasons smothered by a stream of tactical trends and managerial dictats.

“I always liked going box to box earlier in my career,” Doyle told The Star. “It’s something I enjoy doing and think I’m pretty good at.

“But more recently I’ve been asked to sit deep and patrol that area in front of the defence so that’s why people might think it’s the only thing I’ve ever done.

“I’m not complaining. I’m happy to be involved and do whatever is expected of me.

“But the gaffer here has made it pretty clear he wants us to get more goals and he wants them to be spread around the team more.

“So, you never know, I might end up spending a lot more time going forward. I like to believe I can contribute something there.”

Closer analysis of the tactics United employed against Danilo Doncic’s squad confirm new manager Danny Wilson and assistant Frank Barlow will encourage rather than curb Doyle’s attacking instincts as they plot a return to the Championship.

The former Coventry captain, an instrumental figure in Leeds’ 2010 promotion-winning side, joined the South Yorkshire club just three months before its relegation to League One was confirmed following April’s draw against Barnsley.

But accepts a share of the responsibility for his latest employer’s plight.

“I didn’t make the impact that I wanted do,” he admitted.

“And that’s something that I plan to put right when we get back to business.

“I know this division and I know it’s going to be tough but I’m also sure that, if we go about our work in the way we’re being asked, that things can go well.

“There have been changes as everyone knows and hopefully we can put things right. I’m looking forward to a chance of showing what I can do more as well.”

Doyle, signed by Wilson’s predecessor, Micky Adams, hopes to build on his industrious display during United’s 3-1 win at Ta’Qali when they face Hibernians in Paola tonight.