Doyle takes the high road in bid for Irish recall
Published 03/09/2015 | 02:30
Kevin Doyle's link with the Mile High Club is paying handsome dividends on and off the pitch for the Republic of Ireland striker.
Before anyone gets the idea that Doyle has been indulging in naughty trysts on airplanes, let me hasten to add that the aforementioned 'mile high club' is the MLS club Colorado Rapids, based in Denver, Colorado, which is a mile above sea level, about 20 km east of the Rocky Mountains.
As such Denver is ranked as one of the highest cities in the USA, and in football terms, Doyle feels he has benefited from training and playing at altitude - and mostly from playing matches. The money is not bad either. Doyle's $1.17 million salary (€1.04 million euro), makes him the record salary earner for the Rapids.
All in all, his departure from Wolves to Denver in May has given the Wexford native a new lease of life, and he has scored four goals - all crucial winners - in 16 appearances, the most recent on last Saturday in a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
Doyle has won 61 caps and scored 14 goals for his country, and he has been eager to impress Martin O'Neill this week.
Speaking to FAI TV, Doyle said: "I've really enjoyed playing soccer recently. I feel as fit as I've ever done.
"Playing at altitude in Colorado and training every day in 30 degrees, it's easy to be fit and to feel healthy and strong.
"Hopefully that shows to the manager here when I come and train.
"I haven't played a lot of football in the last year and a half, and I have done in the last three months, so I'm looking forward to showing what I can do if I get the chance.
"I've plenty of caps for Ireland, lots of caps, but I'd like to add to that."
As one of the senior players in the Irish squad, Doyle can hardly believe that ten years have passed since he and Stephen Kelly had to perform the ritual initiation of singing a song for the squad.
One aspect that has not changed in that decade is the status and aura surrounding Robbie Keane and Shay Given.
"When I came in I was 21. Shay and Robbie were the senior players then. They are still the senior players now.
"I'm playing with lads now who would have been ten years of age when I first played in the Premier League with Reading. But that's what makes you train hard and try to keep playing," he said.