‘Nothing fazes him’ – Kevin Phillips reacts to new Sunderland signing’s start to life at the Black Cats

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Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has revealed he’s excited about the upcoming Sunderland campaign because of loanee Callum Doyle’s performance in pre-season, in an interview with Football Insider.

With top performer Dion Sanderson returning to Wolverhampton Wanderers on the expiration of his loan deal in the summer and then opting to jump up a tier to Lee Bowyer’s Birmingham City, there were slight concerns over how the Black Cats would cope with this loss.

However, they seem to have found another young gem in Callum Doyle, who joined on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City less than a fortnight ago but has already made an impression on Wearside.

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This temporary spell will provide the 17-year-old with his first taste of senior league football after making two appearances in the EFL Trophy for the Citizens last season.

And this is likely to be a big challenge for the teenager who is likely to come up against Wigan’s 26-goal striker Charlie Wyke, Ipswich Town’s Joe Pigott and other prolific goalscorers in the third tier next season.

Although manager Lee Johnson could be set to bring in another centre-back or two before the end of the window, especially with Bailey Wright being heavily linked with a move to Wigan Athletic, they are currently struggling to bring more fresh faces in during this transfer window and may be forced to start the 17-year-old on the opening day of the 2021/22 season.

This may not be a major problem for Johnson though, who has seen Doyle impress at the back in three pre-season friendlies since the centre-back arrived.

Kevin Phillips is one Sunderland fan who is excited about the prospect of seeing the 17-year-old perform next season and in an interview with Football Insider, said: “It just shows that when you have been at a club like Man City, in and around all of these top players, nothing fazes him.

“Young players now are so confident. He’s probably thought, ‘Right, I’m going to go there and show people just what I can do.’

“Doyle is used to seeing world stars walking past him day in and day out. It is no disrespect to anyone at Sunderland but he probably feels confident in his own ability straight away.

“It is great to hear that he has been the standout performer in the first few games. As a Sunderland supporter it is exciting going into the new season.”

The Verdict:

It’s not like Doyle is 20 or 21 performing in a make-or-break season, so there’s no real pressure on him in the 2021/22 campaign. His parent club will just be keen to see the 17-year-old get a considerable amount of League One minutes under his belt regardless of anything else and with this, he can relax and just show his class in central defence.

But you could also argue he’s under a considerable amount of pressure just because of the size of Sunderland and their expectations of promotion next season.

However, he will come in as a fresh face at the Stadium of Light, not being scarred by their promotion heartbreak in previous seasons and the bumpy times that have come with it.

Parent club Manchester City will be especially keen to see how he copes under the weight of massive expectations, as well as how he performs in front of over 40,000 fans at the Black Cats’ stadium.

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