Michael Doyle revelling in Pompey's golden oldies

They are Paul Cook's golden oldies who continue to dazzle the Fratton faithful.

Wednesday, 13th January 2016, 6:30 am
Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

Skipper and midfield linchpin Michael Doyle is aged 34 years, five months and six days.

Right-back Ben Davies is marginally more senior, weighing in at 34 years, seven months and 18 days.

The oldest members of Pompey’s squad have amassed 55 appearances between them since arriving as free agents in the summer.

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Coincidently, both arrived from Sheffield United, who they helped to the League One play-offs last term.

Such has been Doyle’s immense impact, last week he was given a new deal until the summer of 2017.

As for Davies, talks are on-going to retain the energetic full-back who already is a strong contender in the player-of-the-season stakes.

And Doyle is delighted the elder statesmen of the Fratton Park dressing room are demonstrating ability overrules age.

He said: ‘I think age is irrelevant. Age is just a number, especially in football.

‘Things have a changed. There was a time when you reached 35 and had already retired, but that was 10-20 years ago.

‘It was an era when you didn’t have strength and conditioning coaches and sports science.

‘There wasn’t the recovery after games, you weren’t eating the right food or drinking correctly, so many different things are involved now.

‘If you are willing to tap into all that you can probably play a lot longer and I certainly want to play for as long as I can.

‘Ben is older than me and also playing great, he is made for the role he has in the team. He is as fit as a fiddle and keeps going.

‘That is Ben, he’s been a great professional throughout his career and it is no coincidence he is playing like this.

‘Everybody you speak to who has gone out of the game as players tells you how you should play for as long as you can – and that is my mentality.

‘I want to play for as long as I can, it’s not about numbers.’

Doyle was rested for last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Ipswich in the FA Cup third round, with Gary Roberts taking over the captaincy.

But he is expected to march straight back into Cook’s side for the trip to Accrington Stanley.

There have rightly been plenty of plaudits over the ex-Coventry City midfielder’s displays, yet he feels there is still room for improvement.

He added: ‘I would say my performances are okay, I think I can get better.

‘We are all developing all the time as a team and individuals, I feel there is still a lot more to come from the team – and hopefully myself.

‘The way the team plays I have a set role, a specific job to do. With the role I play I don’t suppose I am ever going to get the headlines.

‘I am okay with that, I am happy enough doing my job, but like anybody I want to get better and feel I can. You want to push to get all you can out of yourself and I will be trying to do that.

‘The team is playing well and the system suits a lot of them so they are playing with confidence.’