Football | 2 months ago

Has boots, will control ball. That'd be an improvement.

Jake Doyle-Hayes is only 18 years of age and he's only played two competitive games for Aston Villa but, already, he's turning heads.

The Irish underage international, who was born in Dublin and grew up in Cavan, played the full 90 minutes of Villa's League Cup clash but this time found himself on the wrong side of a 2-0 beating by Middlesbrough.

According to the Birmingham Mail though, the central midfielder was the second best player for his club on Tuesday night with young English talent Callum O'Hare the only man to beat him in the player ratings.

Doyle-Hayes had previously starred in the 4-1 win over Wigan earlier in the competition, with Villa fans - who don't mind dishing out criticism - hailing him as man of the match.

He's been in the midlands for over three years now having made the move across the Irish Sea at 15 but, this season, the ball-playing maestro is exciting the Villa faithful and, in fairness, they don't have an awful lot to get excited.

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During a pre-season tournament, Doyle-Hayes was said to have ripped German side Duisburg apart in a semi-final where his performance was described as follows:

"For Doyle-Hayes, the football pitch was his playground.

"He looked mature beyond his tender years and left supporters in awe as he treated them to a taste of what he’s made of."

Yes, this kid is making noises.

So, when he got the full game at Villa Park during the midweek clash with Middlesbrough, there wasn't much else to take heart from aside from individual performances.

And, surely to God, Steve Bruce recognised that too - highlighting Doyle-Hayes and Callum O'Hare as two of the only real positives of the night.

"I thought Jake Doyle-Hayes and Callum were excellent," the Villa manager said after the game.

"They have given me food for thought for the campaign ahead."

In just a few instances during that match, Doyle-Hayes showed what he was all about.

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He's tidy, he's confident on the ball, he has spatial awareness.

He can break forward and test the 'keeper.

He can track back and won't be caught off the one-two.

In fairness, they're not the sort of qualities they're looking for at Ireland right now...

While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Donegal pro boxer Jason Quigley, Cork Camogie star Ashling Thompson, alongside the ever-brilliant Dion Fanning in the studio!


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Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa