MANCHESTER City starlet Tommy Doyle, a player with roots in Saddleworth, was handed his Emirates FA Cup debut in the third-round victory against Port Vale on Saturday, January 4.
The 18-year-old midfielder, whose father Scott was raised in Grasscroft, came on an a 77th minute substitute for Ilkay Gundogan in the 4-1 victory.
It was another step on the remarkable journey for Tommy who has been at the club since the age of four and who made his first-team debut in October’s Carabao Cup, fourth-round win against Southampton when he started the game.
And Tommy is hoping to build on the two senior appearances in 2020 which will be another important year in his development.
It was back in the summer when Tommy, whose grandparents Glyn Pardoe and the late Mike Doyle are City legends, put himself in the first-team spotlight when he was included in the squad for the pre-season tour of China where he played a couple of games.
And training and playing alongside some of the world’s best players, the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho has helped make him a more rounded player.
Tommy, an England international at Under-16,17,18 and 19 level, has described it is a “dream come true” to play for City and still supports the team from the stands when he is not playing.
When Tommy made his debut against Southampton, he glanced towards his family in the stand and saw the seat from where he leapt when Sergio Aguero scored ‘that goal’ which earned City their first Premier League title in 2012.
Tommy said: “As I walked out of the tunnel, the seat I was in that day in 2012 was straight ahead. It was the first thing I looked at, then I looked at my family in the stands.
“I’ve been coming here for years but the main memory is the Aguero moment, the 93:20. That was the moment that changed everything for the club and put us where we are now.
“Now I’m giving passes to Sergio and it doesn’t seem real. He’s a fantastic footballer and he gives you lots of information, but keeps it fun, keeps it happy.
“There’s no nerves around Sergio, he’s always laughing and joking which helps to calm you down and make you feel better. What he’s done for the club is massive.
“Everyone went mental on that day and now to be playing with him is amazing.”
Tommy had turned 18 only 12 days before his debut against Southampton.
However, grandad Glyn was just 15 years and 314 days when he played his first game for City against Birmingham in 1962.
Tommy Facetimed him after finding out on the day he was going to make his debut.
“I told him I couldn’t wait, but he reminded me he was only 15, just getting a little dig in.”
Tommy is also reminded of his other grandfather, the late Mike Doyle every time he goes to the Etihad.
He helped record the song ‘The Boys in Blue’ in 1976 which is still played at every home game.
At the Southampton game there was also a huge banner depicting Mike lifting the League Cup in 1976 following their victory against Newcastle United.
And of his grandparents, Tommy said: “I’m proud of everything that they’ve done because the history they’ve had at the club is a big thing. I’m proud of them and hopefully I can continue the Doyle legacy and keep it going.”
Tommy has been attending England training camps since the age of 13 and is the second youngest player in the England U16 squad which makes his achievements even more special.
Scott, in an earlier interview with the Independent, said: “When Tommy was younger, I played down who his grandfathers were as I did not want to put pressure on him.
“What Tommy has done has been achieved has been achieved on his own bat so now I don’t mind talking about them.”
Scott was also a promising player who, too, was on City’s books until he was forced to quit playing in his teens through a back problem.
He became a top golfer and had a spell as assistant professional at Didsbury. Mike was also a scratch golfer at Ashton Golf Club and a county squash player. He owned Hartshead Motors in the town for many years.