Jake Doyle-Hayes has impressed at The Robins, and earned himself a ‘Xavi’ moniker for his efforts.
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“Xavi Doyle-Hayes was the standout for me” exclaims a Cheltenham Town fan on social media.
Now 20-years-old, it seems like Jake Doyle-Hayes has been on the periphery of the Aston Villa squad for some time, always touted as the next best thing to come out of the illustrious Bodymoor Heath academy. The same can be said for the likes of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Callum O’Hare, but this is not about them.
Within his first month of League Two football, Doyle-Hayes had been awarded the Player of the Month award by supporters with over 40% of the vote via Cheltenham Town’s Twitter poll. He had performed excellently against Scunthorpe United in his debut and was named Man of the Match, and followed this by remaining an ever-present within The Robins’ midfield.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international is proving to be a popular figure at the Gloucestershire club, with fans waxing lyrical about the midfielder, whilst local media have already interviewed him a number of times in his relatively short time at the club to date.
Doyle-Hayes stated in one of these interviews that he was inspired by watching John McGinn at Aston Villa last season and hopes to work to emulate his rise at the club in the future. The midfielder, who has appeared in the Carabao Cup for Aston Villa, still has things to add to his game to reach McGinn’s level however – but is picking up new things whilst out on loan.
In fact, the youngster has managed to score once and set up his team-mates twice in just eleven games. But more impressive than this is some of the averages he’s registering statistically.
Across 976 minutes of football so far this season – where Jake has not played the full match in only two games, two draws against Crewe Alexandra and Oldham Athletic – the midfielder has managed to register an 82.7% passing accuracy. There are two games that stand out in particular, Oldham and Plymouth, where Doyle-Hayes managed a 93% and 96% passing accuracy in the game. He is also more often not, finding a Cheltenham player with his long balls – just over one ball in every two attempted reaches it’s target.
As a deep-lying midfielder, it’s not just his passing that has proved important for Jake Doyle-Hayes. So far, he’s made 40 interceptions and 17 clearances, as well as 96 ball recoveries, showcasing his defending ability too.
The level of the game isn’t too important here, but the experience of playing against men in a tough league, rather than boys in the youth leagues is certainly going to prove beneficial for Doyle-Hayes, who avoided the mass cull of youth talent last season that saw the likes of Mitch Clark and Corey-Blackett Taylor leave the club.
With Jake and his young peer Callum O’Hare impressing away on loan, Dean Smith may be forced to give these players an opportunity sooner rather than later.