AS he high-fived Riyad Mahrez and ran onto the pitch, Tommy Doyle followed a family tradition.
The 18-year-old midfielder made his Premier League debut for Manchester City in their 5-0 rout of Newcastle on Wednesday – just like his grandads did before him.
The teen sensation showed some impressive touches during his 15-minute cameo, and looks nailed on to become an absolute superstar.
Amidst the galaxy of superstars at the Etihad, it is easy to overlook the other side of the coin…how increasingly difficult it has got for homegrown talent to break through.
With the sale of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich and David Silva retiring at the end of this campaign, there will be a window of opportunity for others to impress.
But if there is a downside, it is the lack of a locally produced presence that winds up City fans.
Because let’s face it, as much as the supporters love seeing the best in the business, nothing gets them going like “one of our own.”
They have had a glimpse of the future with Phil Foden, who burst onto the scene when he inspired England’s Under 17 World Cup triumph.
Yet as magnificent as young Foden is going to be, there is another City starlet bubbling just below who those in the know at the Etihad reckon could ultimately be even better.
That youngster is Tommy. The boy whose grandparents – Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe – are both City legends.
Tommy is the child of the late Mike Doyle’s son Scott and Pardoe’s daughter Charlotte, who met when they were toddlers and their dads were team-mates.
Hence that derby-winning pedigree from earlier.
The 2020 Doyle is just 18, but is already a regular in the City youth ranks and rated by many wise heads as the closest thing to Steven Gerrard since, well, Steven Gerrard.
Many youth coaches insist the teenager is far and away the best midfielder of his age in the country.
Two-footed, great balance, a great attitude, an even greater will to win…this kid has got the lot.
He invariably sees a pass ahead of anyone else on the field, he is aggressive when needed, but equally a calming influence – in short, a leader way above his tender years.
That’s one of the reasons he hasn’t just skippered England at his own age level, but also a year above.
One interesting anecdote comes from when Wayne Rooney took son Kai to train at the City Football Academy, and young Tommy was sent to greet the pair.
Forever my hero! I love you so much. Rest easy 💙 pic.twitter.com/NblrNfVzET
As he shook hands with the then United hero, he introduced himself and said his name. Rooney replied: “I know who you are…we all do.”
Such was the renown of Tommy even then – and that was back in 2016.
And now he’s broken into the City senior side, the sky is the limit.
Don’t forget the name, this young man is heading right to the top. He won’t be Glyn Pardoe’s grandson for too many years.
Before long, it will be Pardoe who is proudly telling everybody “I’m Tommy Doyle’s granddad!”