Herbert lauds Doyle’s Phoenix-like resurgence

Former Wellington Phoenix and All Whites coach Ricki Herbert has paid tribute to Tom Doyle for turning his career around.

Doyle signed his first professional contract at the start of August, agreeing to a two-year deal with the Phoenix after impressing in pre-season friendlies against Premier League clubs West Ham United and Newcastle United.

It was a huge moment for the 22-year-old left-back, who was dumped by Wellington’s Football School of Excellence (FSE) in 2012 due to a lack of commitment and maturity.

Doyle’s impressive recovery has also seen him selected in New Zealand’s squad to play Uzbekistan in a friendly on September 8 and Herbert, who is preparing for the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL), where he will coach NorthEast United, was thrilled to see the youngster back on the right track.

“Tom was a very young player and played for the same team as my son for a number of years,” Herbert told Goal.

“He is a left-sided player and I am delighted that he has taken his chance in the pre-season [and that] the management have seen the potential in him. I wish him the best.”

Doyle was brought into Anthony Hudson’s All Whites squad to replace Marco Rojas, who would not be able to get to Tashkent in time to face Uzbekistan, as he is set to play for Greuther Furth in the 2.Bundesliga on Monday.

While Herbert’s six-year stint in charge of the Phoenix did not end in the best of circumstances after co-owner Gareth Morgan put pressure on the coach to change Wellington’s style of play in the 2012-13 season, the 53-year-old’s influence remains clear on the club.

Many of the current squad were first signed by Herbert, who gave both Kosta Barbarouses and Rojas their professional starts with Wellington and international debuts with New Zealand.

Current Phoenix trio Tyler Boyd, Louis Fenton and Michael Boxall were all given their first big break by Herbert.

“One of the most important things is that they [Boyd, Fenton and Boxall] are regularly playing in the first team,” Herbert said.

“I am delighted for them and I hope it continues for them in the season.”

On August 19, Herbert signed a contract to be NorthEast United’s first coach in the upcoming ISL, which will begin on October 12.

Organised along the same lines as cricket’s Indian Premier League, the ISL will only run for two-and-a-half months during the off-season of India’s other national football competition – the I-League.

It has attracted the likes of ex-Sydney FC forward Alessandro Del Piero and his former Juventus team-mate David Trezeguet as marquee players with Herbert set to work with former Spain international Joan Capdevila at NorthEast United.

Herbert thinks it could make a significant difference to football in India – a country that has traditionally struggled to turn its massive population into some sort of success on the international stage.

“You are going to have some very iconic international footballers playing on your doorstep,” he said.

“I think that it only bodes well for India. It’s visible and some of the young players will have the privilege of training alongside some high profile players.”

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