Time For Tom Huddlestone To Leave Tottenham

By on November 23, 2011

There’s a buzz about Spurs at the moment. Everyone is talking about Harry Redknapp’s team electrifying the Premier League. There’s even talk of a title challenge! After the first two games of the season, who would have thought that?

Brad Friedel has made the goalkeepers position his own by offering calm and confidence in place of Gomes panicky flappiness. King and Kaboul are forging a centre back partnership the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Mabbutt and Gough turned out for David Pleats exciting 86/87 team that went oh so close to winning everything. Kyle Walker is forging a reputation for himself and looks set for the right back berth at Spurs and maybe for England for many years to come. On the other side Benoit Assou-Ekotto continues to prove that not only is he an awesome left back but he might just be the coolest character in English football for a very long time. Up front Emmanuel Adebayor is providing a dominant presence who can hold the ball up and link play. Whilst all these players take their plaudits and deservedly so, it is the midfield that has really set all the tongues wagging.

Bale and Lennon are terrifying full backs as only they can, meanwhile inside them the trio of Parker, Modric and van der Vaart are setting new standards of excellence on a game by game basis. Parker is the most prolific tackler in the league, but he’s so much more than that, his drive and energy allied with a fine range of passing make him probably the best all round midfielder in the country right now. Luka Modric has put the summer transfer battle behind him, well and truly behind him and is now showing exactly how much he cares about playing for Spurs, even with the ‘chicken badge’ on his chest. He was sublime against Villa and ran the show. Van der Vaart meanwhile continues to ooze class as only a Dutchman can, he’s scored some vital and delightful goals this season and also provides excellent service for his team mates along with a ferocious work rate.

All of this must leave Tom Huddlestone wondering how on earth he’ll get back in the side when he recovers from his latest injury. Fact is right now, there doesn’t seem to be a place for him at all. Spurs football is all pace and high energy, balls zipping from one side of the pitch to the other and midfielders driving from the centre of the park to join attacks. THudd’s languid style just won’t fit with how the team are playing currently.

Of course the season is but a third of the way through and squad depth will surely be tested at some point. However even if one of the central midfielders picks up a knock there are surely others ahead of the big Nottingham born man. Sandro, the breakout star of last season has seen his minutes curtailed by first injury and then Parkers addition to the squad, but he must head the queue should Redknapp see the need for a more physical presence in midfield. For all Huddlestone’s size it’s always been felt that he doesn’t use it well enough.

Early in his career he seemed unwilling to get his foot in and as he’s developed when he does get physical he seems to get, well, thuggish, as evidenced by his Champions League elbow and a couple of other unsavoury moments in the last eighteen months. Jake Livermore now also seems  a better bet to play alongside the more creative Modric if our Brazilian wonder is not available, he’s not quite up to Sandro’s standards yet but has masses of drive and energy as well as endless enthusiasm and determination to make it at Spurs. Determination is another quality that Huddlestone has been accused of lacking over his time at The Lane, his talent has rarely been questioned, but his desire to make the most of it hasn’t always been evident.

So perhaps THudd could end up as understudy to Modric? Of course his range of passing and ability to split a defence are plain for all to see. Many have said he’s the best passer since the legendary Glenn Hoddle to grace the White Hart Lane turf and that is hard to argue with, but his slow and ponderous style is completely at odds with the way that Modric buzzes around, keeping the ball moving and the team ticking over. Even Niko Kranjcar offers more mobility than Huddlestone and must surely, when fit, be seen as first alternative to Luka.

There is another alternative to Modric, anyone who’s seen our Europa League campaign cannot have failed to miss the emergence of Tom Carroll. He may look about twelve years old but the Watford born youngster is growing with each appearance he makes. He is very much of the same style as Modric, a deep lying playmaker who always finds space and wants the ball and is ready to give it to a team mate and then make himself available again. It may be too soon to start thinking of him becoming a Premier League regular but if he were to play then unlike Huddlestone, he would slot straight into the team without Redknapp having to adapt or change style to accomodate him.

All of this must be very frustrating to watch for Huddlestone. It took him a while to get truly established at Spurs, it wasn’t until his key role in Redknapps team that qualified for the Champions League that the majority of Spurs fans truly accepted him and recognised what he could do. THudd was absolutely outstanding in 09/10, particularly the second half of the season when he formed an attack minded central midfield pairing with Modric. However last season injuries took their toll and Redknapp also learnt from the Champions League adventure that gung-ho was all well and good but no team succeeds at the top level without some defensive security in midfield. For all his skills, for all his 60 yard pinpoint passes, for all his thundering shots from 30 yards, Huddlestone just doesn’t offer enough mobility to fill Luka’s role nor enough defensive tougness and savvy to take over from Super Scotty Parker when needed.

What Huddlestone’s future holds is uncertain, but he must be questioning whether that future is at White Hart Lane. Harry Redknapp may well have ideas on how Big Tom can fit back into the squad and play a role at the club, but a move elsewhere may be the answer.  He’s already been linked with a switch to Liverpool, he and Charlie Adam could form the most immobile midfield ever conceived if that were to happen. Whilst it’s true that Damien Comolli not only loves a midfielder but is also a fan of Hudd, having signed him for Spurs from Derby, that move just doesn’t make sense really. Even so, it may well be that if THudd is to establish himself and push back into the England reckoning, he was close after the World Cup in 2010, then he may have to look to pastures new to do it.

Whilst it would be sad to see such a talented player move on, and although injuries have played a part, Huddlestone has never truly fulfilled all the potential he arrived at Spurs with.

Best of the web

24 Comments

  1. Devonshirespur

    November 23, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Arnesen signed Hudd, not Comolli.

    If we make the CL next season, we need quality in depth and with Huddlestone, Sandro and Kranjcar that is exactly what we will get.

    38 league games, 12 – 15 Euopean games, 2 – 12 domestic cup games.

    These players will be essential

  2. Dusty

    November 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Huddlestone has been one of our best perfomers over the last couple of seasons. He offers something the others don’t in his range of passing and long range shooting and has the same ability to keep the ball as Modric and Parker. It’s also easy to forget his age, still only 24 with his best years ahead of him.

    Your mention Spurs are all about pace and high energy but, Huddlestone’s passing suits our wing play using his vision to pick out a defence splitting pass from 60 yards. It’s also not always bad to have a laid back style either, Glenn Hoddle, Platini, Zidane and more recently Alonso (why did Liverpool get rid of him?) they all thrive(d) on it.

    We need to have a broad range of abilities in the team and personally I think Huddlestone is still a young and exciting talent who can stamp his mark as a Spurs great. I love watching him play football, very pleasing on the eye and I would be dissapointed if he left.

    His injuries are certainly a concern and he can of course improve aspects of his game but he still (for me) remains a crucial part of the team. Can’t wait to see him back. SHOOOOOOOOOT.

    • DAVSPURS

      November 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

      You my fellow Cockerel have the same gift has Davspurs and are spot on. Huddlestone is key when we play teams who squeeze the space and stop us from passing Hudds is a vital member of our squad at 6ft3He can also plaay at the back.

      • Dusty

        November 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        Huddlestone is the answer to everything. The troubles in the middle east. The Euro-zone crisis. Everything.

      • Rob

        November 24, 2011 at 4:01 am

        Dav you can’t really be as thick as you appear.

  3. DBsKnees

    November 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Nice article. My own personal opinion would be ‘wait and see’, Tom needs to get fit first and then see what the shape of the squad is and how rotation will impact. ‘Arry has admitted that rotation is needed, especially if we are going to preserve the fitness of our key players To me, where we would degrade in quality – is if we lose any of the following from the line-up (due to injury, say): Modric, Ade, Parker, King, vDV – that’s three midfielders – so Tommy may have a chance. Failing that, a loan move shouldn’t be out of the question to get fitness, match practice and a bit of confidence under his belt. It certainly is an interesting one, both for ‘Arry’s selection policy and Thudd’s career. Guess we’ll see soon enough..

  4. donny

    November 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I am one of Thudds biggest fans. He has abilities that are supported by comments that the ball travels faster than the man etc. The fact of the matter is this that until Harry decides this is a 14 man game for 94 mins, Tom is not gonna displace these guys. Truthfully as big a fan as i am of his, I would not chage this team as it is now. I would prefer to bring him on intially 30mins at a time.

    • DAVSPURS

      November 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

      If you are judging our team aginst Villa you are right but cast your mind back to the four previous games. You may change your mind we struggled in the second half badly against Fulham and Newcastle. This is the problem if you stand back like Villa we can run at them and dominate but some teams have lets say bundles of energised players who in the second half deny us space and we then struggle and have to hang on. This is when Huddlestones passing can beat this energy by launching a missile pass from one side to the other too Lennon or Bale or now Ady and put teams on the back foot. Against Fulham Modric Van and the others struggled too get away from energised markers. He can also score vital long range winners launch fast accurate free kicks and help at corners 6ft3 with static Friedel not coming from crosses he is a must and just like Lennon’s explosive speed a one of amazing passer and controller of the football with both feet i have seen since our Hoddle. Football has had many Modrics Parkers but Lennons speed Hudds passing are rare and we have them and others would love to have them so enjoy them.

  5. donny

    November 23, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Oh and before I forget, he better get in the squad and score or else that Huddlefro is gonna have him falling over.

  6. Steve

    November 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

    dusty = spot on

  7. Roy Singh

    November 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Neither Huddlestone nor JD should be considered for any moves.Rotation needs to be implemented to hold onto what we have.

  8. abe

    November 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

    What rubbish, You don’t see good players are other good teams just leaving – or the teams letting them leave. We need a great squad with players of different skills. What happens if a couple of players get injured. In some games, a guy like Huddlestone would be great. Good teams keep their good players, and hopefully the players understand that in order win things, you need a good squad

    • B00BS

      November 24, 2011 at 3:55 am

      and in order to keep a good squad, you need to win things..quite a chiasmus

  9. Parklaner

    November 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

    It’s a squad game now – Huddlestone is needed

  10. bazza

    November 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Ridiculous article, we need strength in depth and Tom Huddlestone is top quality
    Over the season you need a strong squad and players like Tom ready to take their chances. First thing he needs is to get over his injury and match fit. We will need him this season if we want to seriously challenge and injuries, suspensions and drop in form mean that quality players like Tom will always het opportunities

  11. essexian76

    November 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

    You effectively need two teams to compete at the highest level. This season we’ve used and bloodied many of our fringe players in the LC and Europa league, keeping our first team fresh for the Prem. If we’re in the CL, we’ll almost need a squad of 1st teamers to repeat the process if we’re to make any impact. Huddlestone is still a month or so away from fitness, but will figure in the 2nd half of the season and is going nowhere!

  12. Dusty

    November 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Think it’s pretty clear, Hudd is quality and this is a rubbish article, move on.

  13. Harry

    November 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Shame the guy writing such a lengthy article doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Who would have thought Spurs would be where they are now after the first 2 games? Spurs fans because we knew we had no central midfield for those 2 games. Krancjar showed he can’t play there as he doesn’t defend very well, yet you recommend him as a Modric understudy! He rather than Huddlestone doesn’t fit our style as he has to slow play down lacking any sort of pace.

    We got into the Champions League with Huddlestone playing in the same side with the same style so why is he incapable of playing it all of a sudden?

    Carroll is miles away from the Premier League and Livermore would be behind Huddlestone in the pecking order, playing in the minor competitions while he gains much needed Harryexperience.

    • B00BS

      November 24, 2011 at 4:51 am

      Kranjcar CAN play in the CM… Modric isn’t a great defender either he just gets himself in the way, and it helps that he plays alongside players like Parker and Sandro who work their tails off defensively. Whereas Kranjy played alongside Mods and Livermore in games against two of the top teams in the world.
      Niko(LM,RM,CM,AM) Thudd(CM CB AM) and Defoe(ST AM LW RW) are all must keeps. While maybe no longer 1st teamers their all great squad players to have.

  14. Wall-E

    November 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    The Hudd Stops Here. Should Man Utd also sell Carrick and Anderson? Or City sell Johnson and Milner? They don’t play week in week out… Large squads of quality players are needed to compete these days. Rotation rules. Your thinking of the 80’s…

  15. tony

    November 24, 2011 at 4:06 am

    the best summing up of tom ive ever read.hes great going forward,but on defense very slow.we could get maybe 15mil for him.hes about 4th in the pecking order.15 mil would be a steal.

  16. Rob

    November 24, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Hud wouldn’t get in our first 11 and comes after Sandro but selling him makes no sense. He is far from world class but he’s also far from being dead wood. He’s a good player, an excellent passer, and a handy man to have in the squad. we need to add quality, not lose it.

  17. robbie

    November 24, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Tom is the best passer of a ball in the league bar none. His passing allows the wide players to get the ball in areas where they can do the most damage. He has a proper footballing brain, can set the tempo of a game. He was key when we last qualified for the Champions League. What short memories some people have. He will get games no doubt about it. Football is about keeping possession and moving the ball not running about like headless chickens. Too much emphasis is placed on running which is why england produce too many athletes that have little technical ability. If born on the continent Tom would have about 50 caps by now!

  18. Mhendy10

    November 24, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Stopped reading at the suggestion Livermore is a better option than Hudd. Embarrassing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *