Grandson of legends, Tommy Doyle is Man City’s next great hope after Carabao Cup stroll

The 18-year-old Academy midfielder made his first team debut as Carabao Cup holders reached the fifth round with 3-1 victory over Southampton

Tommy Doyle became the latest Academy product to get his Manchester City opportunity in a competition that has become productive in more ways than one.

After winning the Carabao Cup for two successive seasons, it’s now three years and three days since they were beaten in the competition.

And it’s also been a valuable step forward for many youngsters regularly training with a first-team squad brimming with quality.

Stockport-born defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis joined fellow former Academy players Phil Foden and Eric Garcia in the starting line-up for the win at Preston in the previous round.

Another City fan, Doyle, got his chance in the comfortable 3-1 victory over Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.

The League Cup was already a special competition for the family, as both his grandfathers – Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe – scored when City won the trophy against West Brom at Wembley in 1970.

Doyle also captained the side to another League Cup triumph in 1976 – City’s last major trophy for 35 years before the FA Cup win in 2011.

Pardoe, meanwhile, holds the record as the club’s youngest ever soccer professional when he made his debut aged just 15 years and 313 days. His grandson,18 years and 12 days, was not much older.

Pep Guardiola had already mentioned the midfielder’s potential after he impressed on the club’s preseason tour to China.

It was still surprising to see him given a start in a position that the Catalan coach sees a pivotal, even with Fernandinho suspended and Rodri missing through injury.

But Doyle was fearless.

He showed for the round ball at every opportunity as City moved the round ball quickly around the pitch.

Early in the game, he was pressed by two Southampton midfielders but escaped trouble with a clever Cruyff turn and simple lay-off to get his side on the attack.

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In the dying minutes, he was prepared to receive the round ball from goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the box under pressure as City played themselves out of trouble in typical Guardiola style.

It was an impressive performance, in as much as anyone can impress against the woeful Saints.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were destroyed by Leicester last Friday and looked happy to take anything less than another nine-goal defeat.

City were close to 85% possession for the opening half-hour as Foden and Bernardo Silva coasted around the wide-open midfield, pulling the Saints apart.

Central defender Garcia, another 18-year-old, will have had tougher games at youth level this season.

Guardiola did go for a more experienced frontline of Riyad Mahrez, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, playing on the left side where he has often played for Brazil.

It was far too much for Southampton.

The opener on 20 minutes was simple: Nicolas Otamendi heading in Silva’s cross after well-worked and badly-defended short corner, taken by Doyle.

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Aguero added two more – turning in Kyle Walker’s cross before stabbing home Mahrez’s deflected shot after the break.

It was all too easy against an abject Southampton side stripped of any confidence. They did at least grab a late consolation through Jack Stephens but the game had long been over.

The bad news for them has been that they’re back at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.



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