The newly promoted Hull City have made a big capture this summer as they sealed the signature of Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone. The 26 year-old signed a three-year deal with Hull City for a transfer fee of £5m. Having struggled to establish himself a regular starting role under André VIllas-Boas, Huddlestone will look to play a key role in a club where the competition might be easier to deal with.
Huddlestone did indeed face stones in his path at the White Hart Lane, as injuries hindered his progress and the talents fighting for the same playing minutes saw the Englishman sit on the bench more than he had hoped to. A move became increasingly likely as the summer went on. Huddelstone himself commented the situation that eventually caused him to leave:
“It’s been a frustrating couple of years at Tottenham whether it was because of injuries or team selection. Hopefully I can come here, cement my place in the starting 11, and do well for the club.”
To a player Huddlestone’s quality, a move from Tottenham to the recently promoted Hull City might not seem like the most tempting option, and there seemed to be no way the deal could happen, but the willingness to play a key role was certainly a factor in the player’s decision. Huddlestone also revealed that a chat with his new manager Steve Bruce was an important component in the making of his decision:
“I had a chance to speak to Steve Bruce and I liked his ideas, his role for me within the team, and what he wants the team to do and the way he wants them to play. He wants me to get on ball as much as possible and give me licence to get forward as well. Once I had spoken to him, my mind was made up.”
For manager Steve Bruce, Huddlestone is likely to become an important puzzle piece this season. Coming from Tottenham, the midfielder adds immediate quality in the Hull side and also brings in a boost of experience. “He is a quality player. He’s got something we’ve been wanting to bring into the club for a long time now… the ability to pass the ball the way he can. There’s not many, left-footed or right-footed, who can pass a ball as well as Tom,” Steve Bruce stated.
Indeed, Huddlestone brings an aspect of stability to Hull’s midfield, and being not only a great passer but also a hard-working defense-man when needed, Huddlestone brings in versatility. He’s capable of playing in basically any midfield role, which allows Bruce tactical flexibility within his squad. Steve Bruce also hopes that the midfielder’s new role in his new club will see him get a new chance in the England national team: “He’s still young enough, he’s played for England before. Let’s hope playing for us week in, week out can get him back in there [the national team] and if we can help him along the way, that’s terrific.”
Huddlestone himself is well aware of facing high expectations in his new club, but is confident that it is something he can deal with: “The expectations will be there but it’s something I’ve had before. It was on a different scale when I went to Tottenham, but I was a young lad where people expected a lot. I’m old enough and experienced enough to deal with it”, Huddlestone assured. “I put more pressure on myself than anyone else will and that’s to make sure I do well, show people what I’m all about”, he continued.
Once compared to the legend Franz Beckenbauer, Huddlestone’s career has went downhill in more recent years as he only made 11 starts for Tottenham during his last two seasons at White Hart Lane. With a key-role in store for him in his new club, he will look to return to the form of the 2009-10 season when he was the focal point in Tottenham’s midfield and made his national team debut under Fabio Capello.
Since then, the player has been very unlucky with injuries, as he’s struggled with several ankle problems that have hindered his progress. A chance at Hull City represents a fresh start for him, and although it remains uncertain whether he will ever get back to being the player he was before his injury problems, the regular playing time with the Tigers is unlikely to do any harm.
Hull City’s squad is currently filled with lots of young, hungry players, and some experience has been added this summer, with Huddlestone being their biggest signing. Not only is Huddlestone a quality player, but also someone whose big match experience will be priceless for the newly promoted club. The club is still likely to have to fight for its survival in the Premier League, but the addition of Huddlestone might just be the individual component that puts them ahead in that survival battle.
Written by Jen Evelyn