Wolves and Reading hero 'impressed' by Gary O'Neil after predicting shock career change

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A Wolves hero that played in the Premier League and league One has hailed the work of Gary O'Neil.

Former Wolves striker Kevin Doyle has admitted that he is surprised that Gary O'Neil took up management after he finished up playing.

Doyle and O'Neill played alongside each other for QPR and now the latter is doing a grand job as the manager Wolves, a club that Doyle holds close to his heart. The 40-year-old had a brief stint at Loftus Road in 2014, winning the Championship play-offs with O'Neil in 2014.

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The Wexford-born striker retired in 2017 whilst O'Neil has been coaching with Liverpool, Bournemouth and now Wolves. O'Neil has been spoken about as a contender for the Manager of the Year having lifted the dark cloud over the club following Julen Lopetegui's departure and now his former teammate has delivered his verdict on the job he's done so far.

Speaking to BoyleSports who offer the latest Cheltenham odds, Doyle joked: "I thought he was going to be a full-time golfer after he finished playing! He played that much golf.

“He’s been very impressive.

"Wolves is a tough place to manage, with really passionate fans who really care deeply about the club; and they let you know when things aren’t going well pretty quickly.

“It’s a massive, massive club Wolves, and for a young manager to come in to do so well there, that is impressive.

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“He’s still got to do it season after season, but his first season has been impressive; and his wasn’t a standout appointment either. You would have said that it was a big job for him to get so young in his career, but he’s been really good.

“I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but you heard him speak and he looks more like he’s on the coaching side of things, perhaps the type who gets stuck in on the training pitch."

Doyle spent most of his career as a player at Molineux after joining them from Reading in 2009. He remained loyal to the club after they went from the Premier League to League One and spent a total of six seasons at Molineux.

He played under various managers with the most popular being Mick McCarthy, who preserved Wolves' top-flight status for several years. Doyle drew on his time under McCarthy and said whilst the perception of Wolves has changed, that winning is the ultimate aim for any manager.

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"Identity is the word used, but I don’t know what that means," added Doyle who said the style of play doesn't matter as long as they are winning games.

"Just win games, don’t be in a relegation battle and have confidence with the team playing well. Wolves’ identity over the years has changed. Under Mick McCarthy it was a hard-working, tough team to play against.

“Then there were a few managers who brought in a lot of Portuguese players, and they did very well to get promoted from the Championship before doing very well in the Premier League.

“Now, Gary has come in and he’s still got that mix of all different types of players, but playing good football.

“Perception of Wolves has changed in ten years, with them having been a more hard-working team to now playing quality football and being an exciting team to watch."

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