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Midfielder Michael Doyle released by Sheffield United, becomes free agent

Sheffield United have allowed captain Michael Doyle to leave the club.

Sheffield United captain Michael Doyle has confirmed to the BBC that the Blades will not renew his contract beyond the end of the season.

Nigel Clough's men drew 5-5 with Swindon Town on Monday, but that second leg score wasn't enough to overturn Swindon's 2-1 win in the first leg, bringing an end to Sheffield United's season.

Now, Clough must plan for next season as United plan for yet another season in League One, and he's seemingly already taken steps ahead of the summer transfer window.

Captain Doyle has told the BBC that he won't be at Bramhall Lane next season, with the Blades deciding not to extend his contract this summer.

"I'm gutted. I've enjoyed every minute," said Doyle. "I would have liked to have found out earlier, so I could have said goodbye to the fans properly. They've always shown me great respect and I hope I've done the same for them. I hoped to stay here, but I think I always knew there was a danger I wouldn't be," he added.

Doyle, 33, is now on the lookout for a new club having become a free agent, with the midfielder who started his career with Celtic in 1998 likely to stay in British football.

An experienced, battling midfielder, Doyle also spent time on loan at Leeds United for the duration of the 2009-10 season, but the Whites chose not to sign him permanently from Coventry City upon their promotion to the Championship.

The Irishman will be hoping to find a club sooner rather than later, but he may find it tough given that he's almost 34 - and teams may look for someone younger this summer.

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