Position: Right back
From: Watford FC Academy
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Whole-hearted
If I have a complaint about this season, it's about a lack of aggression. Not the two-footed, elbow-in-the-face
type...just that it's sometimes as if there were too little at stake to get our blood pumping, and we've frequently seemed strangely subdued, rather quiet. Almost shy.
While the fist-clenching of a Mooney might play a part in that, it's more about throwing yourself into the
game whole-heartedly, really attacking it. And being seen to do so.
Of the youngsters to be brought into the first team set-up by Luca Vialli, often with no particular warning,
Lloyd Doyley has arguably performed best of all. Perhaps less significantly for his future career, I like him
a great deal.
For, like everyone else, Lloyd Doyley makes mistakes. His inexperience is sometimes betrayed by an over-hasty
pass or an ill-judged tackle; his appearances as a wing-back are hampered a little by the absence of intuitive
attacking ability (we've made - and subsequently retracted - similar comments about Gibbsy and Robbo in the past, of
The pleasing bit is that these negatives come as part of a furiously positive package, a great rush
of enthusiasm and endeavour. Lloyd Doyley bursts into a football match, affects it, becomes part
of it. No sense that he'll wait for it to come to him, no clue that he'd rather be on the five-a-side pitch.
His errors have the same characteristics as everything else in his rapidly developing game - they're big and
brave and honest, not tentative and cowardly.
That counts for a lot, I think. It would count for a lot less if he wasn't an obviously decent player, sprightly
around the pitch and surprisingly strong when he needs to be. The quality of coaching at the club's Academy
has been very apparent in some of its recent graduates. More than anything, though, you get the feeling that,
when Lloyd Doyley grows older and looks back on his career, he'll know that he gave it his all.
Thus, just as he can learn from the experienced pros around him, they can learn from him. Whatever it is,
do it like you mean it.
2001/2002 has been a season of transition at Vicarage Road. One of some people's fears as the Luca Vialli era began was that young players would no longer get the chance to break into Watford's first team and gain valuable experience. The emergence of first Gary Fisken and then Lloyd Doyley has proved those people wrong.
I'll take you back about a year before I go on. Watford Reserves outclassed Chelsea's Reserves at Vicarage Road, a game that was rightly remembered for Allan Smart's four-goal salvo as he struggled to get back into the first team. There were a few more excellent displays that night and none more than the young right sided centre half. That night saw Lloyd Doyley here, there and everywhere along Watford's rearguard as he and his defensive colleagues shackled the Blues attack and built the base for Smarty's goalscoring exploits. It was one of those displays from a youngster that made you make a mental note of his name and look forward to seeing him in the first team picture some day.
That day came in the home televised game against Preston. Patrick Blondeau had succumbed to one of his early season wallet strains that became a regular feature and on as a sub went Lloyd. On a treacherous night on which staying on your feet proved to be a feat in itself, he acquitted himself well and, despite some basic mistakes, he had a reasonable debut. The thing that made him stand out more was his willingness to fight back when he did make mistakes, he certainly has that important trait of any good defender in that he doesn't give up. He made his first start in the next game and played in much the same vein against the vile Birmingham City.
Since then he's been dipped in and out of the first team, as all young players should be. Each time he has been left out, he has responded professionally and performed well on his return to the side. While the time may not yet be quite right for Lloyd to get an extended run in the side, he has certainly shown us that he is a more than capable deputy and. on many occasions, he's put his older and more highly paid defensive team-mates to shame. One thing is for certain, Lloyd Doyley is proof that the production line is still churning out some gems, that's one Watford tradition that should never be allowed to change.
Last updated: January 2002