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Hunger is back at Barca

Barcelona
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Doyle never asked to leave

Kevin Doyle will captain Republic of Ireland on Tuesday knowing that he spurned a possible chance of a return to the Premier League this summer.

Doyle, who hit a dramatic last-gasp winner in the 2-1 victory in Kazakhstan on Friday, will skipper the side in their friendly against Oman at Craven Cottage.

At the same time, the 28-year-old has been praised at Molineux for staying loyal to the cause after it emerged interest in his services was high during the summer transfer window.

Southampton and his former club Reading were linked with him early in the close season while Aston Villa and Everton were also on his trail last month.

The striker decided to stick with Wolves as they bid to earn promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking under new manager Stale Solbakken, who had him as acting skipper at Cardiff recently after making him one of his two vice-captains.

"The big positive for us with Kevin was that he never fell into that category of 'I want away'. There was interest in him and one or two Premier League clubs called us about him. He was aware of it. It never materialised into a bid but there was interest," Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey said.

"At no point did he say 'I want to leave' and he deserves great credit for that. There were enquiries and they were from established Premier League clubs but Kevin said all along that he was strictly behind us and that sort of commitment is to be praised."

Doyle is content to honour his contract and, having broken a six-month goal duck by scoring against Derby in the club's last home game, and following that up with his 'super sub' winner for his country, he could be the key man for Wolves this season.

He believes Wolves' relegation has cost him an international starting role, though. "I can't be expecting to be getting picked for Ireland when there are two or three lads playing ahead of me in the Premier League every week," he said. That's my own problem, my own fault, and I've to get back playing at the highest level as soon as possible."

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