Perth youngster raring to go
New Perth Glory signing Hayden Doyle is determined to have a good debut season
New Perth Glory signing Hayden Doyle is determined to have a good debut season in the Hyundai A-League and prove coach Dave Mitchell was right to sign him.
Despite his 19 years of age, Doyle is an experienced defender who captained the youth team at newly promoted Premier League side Stoke City before playing in the first team at Greek Football Association club Niki Volou last season.
But, after pay issues forced him to return to Australia, Doyle is grateful the Glory, and Mitchell in particular, have given him a chance to play in this country's highest competition.
"Coaches have to put their neck on the line signing young players and you've got to, as a player, prove them right and make the club see he made the right decision," Doyle said.
"By him signing me, that gives me confidence and obviously he's got that belief in me from then. (So) just to prove him right is always nice."
Looking like the 'mini-me' version of Glory key defender Hayden Foxe, with his flaming red hair and defensive capabilities, Doyle lived in the WA town of Bunbury from the age of six, where he grew up supporting Perth during its dominant National Soccer League years.
His family has since moved back to its native South Australia, where Doyle returned to as well at the end of last season, before SA Super League coach Adrian Santrac suggested Mitchell and the Glory might be interested in him.
Having spoken with Mitchell, Doyle jumped on the plane to Perth to trial with the Glory for a month before being rewarded for his efforts with a one-year contract at the club.
Doyle said it was a tough initiation process, but said he believed the club was impressed with the determination he showed.
"The coaches test players," Doyle said. "They look for those sort of things and obviously if you really want it, you'll hang around like I did."
"I was here for about a month (and) it wasn't like after two weeks I was ... saying 'tell me tell me', I had to listen to what they had to say and just do what they said."
"At the end of the day I wanted it and I knew what I wanted and if I kept staying here I had a chance and it worked out well."
But Doyle admits he would prefer not to go through the wait again any time soon.
"I think that they're the sort of things that people don't realise what players go through," he said.
"Everyone thinks it's sort of a glamorous life but I came over and I was staying with a boy and his girlfriend in a one-bedroom unit and this unit's like the size of the change room, a tiny room."
"And then I was supposed to be getting the nod this week and then it went another week and another week and psychologically it really gets you."
"(But) the way it's worked out has been fantastic ... and being 19 and being able to play with players like Hayden Foxe, it's been great."
Despite playing in all of the Glory's pre-season matches, where he impressed with his pace down the right and powerful crosses into the area, Doyle is unlikely to be in Mitchell's starting team for this Sunday's clash with Adelaide United as the experienced Jamie Coyne is the regular right back.