Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Coppell lauds Doyle's commitment & dedication
Steve Coppell believes Kevin Doyle ranks as one of his best-ever signings during his 25-year managerial career.
Royals’ 17-goal leading scorer was last week named Ireland’s Player of the Year for 2008.
Doyle arrived at Madejski Stadium in the summer of 2005 as an unknown from Cork City for a fee of just £78,000.
In the season that followed he helped fire Reading to the title and he has so far netted 55 goals in 137 starts, plus 14 substitute appearances.
Coppell has unearthed plenty of unpolished gems in his time, the most famous being Ian Wright from non-league football when he was in charge of Crystal Palace in the 80s.
Wright went on to become an Arsenal legend and an England international.
But Royals’ boss reckons Doyle is just as good a signing.
He told the Evening Post: “He is definitely right up there with the best of them, because of his character as well as ability.
“I would never say one is a better signing than another, but his contribution and commitment, in an age when it is easy to think the grass is greener on the other side, is terrific.”
Doyle is now a key player for his country. He has started every competitive match under new boss Giovanni Trapattoni, including the Republic’s 2-1 win over Georgia in a World Cup qualifier at Croke Park last week.
And Coppell believes he is a worthy winner of Ireland’s Player of the Year.
Royals’ boss added: “I think it is recognition by the Irish who voted for him.
“At Reading we have a strong Irish influence. I am sure a lot of Irish people watch our games and they will see his unflinching dedication and commitment.
“He is a player who has come from their domestic league and who has, right from day one, seized the opportunity with enthusiasm and ability. There are times he could have been a prima donna but he has continued to play his football in an exceptional manner for his country and club.
“He has often been used as a lone player up front for his country and is expected to cover a million miles.
“But he does it without complaining. During and after games he is 100 per cent committed and he continues to be a success.
“He is the kind of player managers and coaches dream about in an age where agents have a lot of influence and there are a lot of other agendas.
“He just gets on with the job. If he has missed any training sessions I could count them on the finger of one hand since he has been with us. There are not many players like him.”