Tottenham Not Missing Tom Huddlestone?

By on January 8, 2011

Tom huddlestone

Before you read the title and quickly scroll to the bottom of the page to post a comment along the lines of, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, you idiot. Of course he’s been missed, who wouldn’t miss him?”, read exactly what I’ve got to say and ask yourself the question I’m really posing, which is why haven’t we missed Tommy more? This isn’t intended as a Tommy bash in the slightest as I hope you’ll see. Nor is it intended to wind people up who believe he’s excellent, it’s just something that crossed my mind and when I asked the question as to whether he’s been missed at all on twitter the responses I got were 50/50, which I found interesting.

Eleven games he’s missed now. That’s a third of the game’s we’ve played so far this season and until the Everton game it coincided with our best unbeaten run in over a decade. Some of those games included Chelsea, Werder Bremen and Liverpool at home and the likes of Arsenal, Birmingham and Everton away. Some would argue it’s not been the hardest run of games but there haven’t been any pushovers either (is there such a thing any more?).

Thomas Andrew Huddlestone is without doubt an excellent footballer. Blessed with vision, control and a passing ability that has seen him likened to Glenn Hoddle. That likeness is usually quickly followed with an “obviously not that good though” comment but he’s one of the best technically gifted English footballers playing today, a statement which I don’t think many would argue with. However, although only just 24 he’s struggled to get into the England fold and when given the chance hasn’t given a reason to get another. He’s also not a player that many fans of other clubs talk about. He gets the odd mention here and there but not in the same way our other midfield players do.

He’s quickly racking up the appearances in a Spurs shirt, having played 118 times for us. Quite a few of those have been from the bench but he’s still only managed to amass a paltry 14 goals. In all fairness to the big man, his partner in crime for the last 18 months Luka Modric, hasn’t got a much better return than that either, but with the talent he possesses and shooting ability this number should be a lot higher than it is.

He’s part of a young generation of Spurs players who have been with the club for a while now, having developed their skills and are the reason we’re currently in a rich vain of form. The likes of Michael Dawson, Benny Ekotto, Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were all bought at a young age with the intention of improving and becoming either major saleable assets or a team that could take us somewhere. At present they’re all the latter although their stocks have risen somewhat since we initially bought them if we were ever short of a bob or two. The same can be said for Tommy, but to what extent?

Last season he was a linchpin in what turned out to be one of the best years we’ve had in two decades. His partnership with Modric developed into one of the best in the league and the thought of being without him left many to wonder how we’d cope. However, this season, including before his injury he’s struggled to reach the same heights in my opinion and as such we haven’t missed him as much as we probably all thought we would. When the news of his injury was released many struggled to see who would replace him in that central position. Excusing last night’s game where everyone played poorly and the odd inadequate performance from individuals, Palacios and JJ have filled the gap left my THud fairly easily and neither of them are particularly brilliant at anything even when playing well. Whether the form of Modric has helped that or whether the fact Tommy isn’t playing is the reason for Modric’s return to excellence is open to conjecture.

What I’m saying is this. We’ve been without Dawson for a large proportion of the season and we missed him badly. We’ve missed Defoe when he was injured too. I know a lot of people out there don’t like him, but if Ekotto got injured we’d be in real trouble because not only is he a more than decent defender and works well with Bale but we’ve got no cover for him. Gareth Bale in the last year has transformed himself from a bench warmer to indispensable to the team. We’d struggle without Modric pulling the strings centrally as we did when he was injured last season although we’ve probably got better cover now with van der Vaart, of course another who has become central to everything good the team does. Even Aaron Lennon is missed when he’s not in the team because of what we can replace him with. Whether it be vdV on the right or Bentley/Niko/Modric none of them offer the same pace and directness we miss when Lennon’s not playing.

Why is it so easy to see why all these players would be missed and are vital to the team and chances of success and yet Huddlestone isn’t?

There’s the possibility that had Tommy played the last 11 games we would’ve won them all because of the calmness and ball retention he offers over the likes of Palacios and Jenas. However, we can only look at the facts and as much as we should and probably have missed him in certain situations, the results have been good in general and he’s not been obviously missed like the others in the group of players I mentioned would’ve been.

Here’s my theory on why. He’s the perennial under achiever. He promises so much but often delivers very little. Apart from a lack of pace he’s got the lot, technical ability, passing, strength, tackling, vision etc. Some of those aspects of his game are better than others obviously but when he plays I don’t think we miss the traditional defensive, tough tackling midfielder so he does what he has to in that role. The other players in our first team have stepped up and made themselves indispensable, Tommy is yet to do that. If out of form players like Palacios and Jenas can cover your position when you’re injured without it being a major problem there’s something wrong.

If Redknapp signs Diarra, or Sandro suddenly becomes the world class player some were led to believe he would become who’s place will they take? Tommy’s. It’s as simple as that.

So in conclusion as much as we thought we would miss him and as much as it could be argued in theory we have missed him, the fact of the matter is we haven’t missed him as much as we should when you consider he’s a vice captain and plays a central role in the team (has a sentence ever contained the words much and missed more?). Of all our players, Huddlestone’s injury has shown he’s not quite as vital to the teams success as maybe we thought he was. Or at least he’s not as vital as 6 or 7 of our other players and when he comes back, it’ll be up to him to make sure that’s not the case any more.

Like everyone else I thought when he got injured we could be in trouble but the fact that hasn’t been the case is either down to good squad players in Palacios and Jenas (who a large proportion of the fan-base don’t rate) or the fact his influence on the team isn’t quite as effective as we thought. He’s a hugely talented player with the world at his feet. A young player who I think most teams in the premiership would have but one that needs to mature quickly and make sure any replacement better be world class or they’re going to spend a lot of time on the bench.

Hurry back and prove me wrong Tommy.

Submitted by THFC1882

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21 Comments

  1. jC 11

    January 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

    What a load of drivel. Ball retention is exactly what we needed against Everton and Tommy would have helped to provide that better than anyone.

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  3. abe

    January 8, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Your article was half decent until the end. Calling him the perennial under achiever is incredibly harsh. The reality is that Palacios has started to perform quite well in the last few games. If you look at the Everton game, it was crying out for good ol Tom. The same woudl apply against Fulham and Chelsea in the second half. Someone that could slow down play, protect the back four – and make us play more effectively. The fact that we have done well without him does not reflect badly on him. If reflects well on the squad we have and the ability of others, notably Palacios in this case to step up.

  4. cookiebun

    January 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Abe says it all for me. Ans also he carried that injury for yonks.

  5. vic

    January 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

    What a load of garbage. Thanks for wasting my time reading this rubbish.

  6. Spured On

    January 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

    What nonsense – Huddlestone has been and remains one of the most important players in the Spurs team. To try and suggest that the last 11 games have been won without Hudd, and so that indicates that he does not contribute to the team or that he is not an important member is wrong. It implies that the rest of the team is not that good when in fact it is the strength of the squad that allowed us to win. You also again suggest that defoe and dawson are missed more from the squad when they dont play, but we ended top of our group in the CL without both of them and it was Huddlestone who saved us on more than one occassion in the group stages. – I cant wait for him to be back, Jenas And Palacios dont compare to Huddlestone

  7. Topupman

    January 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Let me educate you on what has happened to Spurs since Tom has bean injured. lets deal with England Tom stared for the under 21 and helped them get to the finals he sadly missed the tournament with injury. The team got walloped by Germany 4-0 the star man was Sweinstige the same players Tom helped England beat 2-0 in a friendly under 21.and the same person who passed England out of the World cup. Secondly his Full Caps he had ten mins against Brazilihe in the tem mins he had a shot saved won the ball and created a great pass for for Defoe whose shot was saved and hit a great cross for Crouch.. his other 45 mins to prove he was worthy of a plane ticket was a farce trust me i will explain he played with Lampard Wallcot and lennon on the left and still not fit upfront Rooney out of form and Bent if lennon had have scored Hudds would have stayed on Japan scored and Lampard on the Plane Rooney On the plain where not botherd because in the second half the click was coming on five players already picked and refreshed they won and we lost our chances of winning the Cuo with Hudds Johnson Wallcot left on the Beach You see Cappelo had picked his squad and Hudds with a commited midfield a fit Lennon a motivated Lampard and Rooney may have got Tom on the plan the click stopped him from performing. Thirdly have we missed him our winning run distorts the truth we have struggled in most of those games but individual brilliance has saved us we have not scored more than two goals and lost the midfield battle at Everton we came unstuck because there second half energised performance won the day and exposed our weakness. At 6ft3 Hudds helps in defence and he would have stopped Fellani dominating the middle and hit the Killer passes and crosses for Crouch and Van this is why Harry wants Becks to fill in for Hudds . My verdict is the lad is sadly missed and when he returns you will see why , oh and he has scored the odd winner at Fulham for one.

  8. JohnnyB

    January 8, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Personally I feel that while we haven’t gone on a loseing run since Tom’s absence neither JJ or Palacios have come in with inspired performances or changed the team dynamic. The fact we have been on a very good run is more down to the rest of the team rather than the performance one particular midfielder. I’d dare say our wing play hasn’t been what it was since Tom had his op because we can’t seem to get the ball wide as quick as we did. Whereas Tom can provide cover at the back and also remain effective offensively in JJ and Palacios we seem to have one or the other.
    In short, though Tom’s availablity doesn’t make or break the team, I feel we’re more balanced with him than without.

  9. Carlos

    January 8, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Rubbish article no one can distribute a football like Thudd have you not witnessed sideways jenas or pass to the opposition palacios. Both Bale and lennon would benefit from having Thudd back because he has the ability to see a pass early and delivery it with either foot so they can use there pace to unsettle defenders

  10. Horny Helen

    January 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I have laid on more balls than big Tom. To slow and to stupid to be class.

  11. TMWNN

    January 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

    The trouble with big Tom is simply that he’s a bit dozy – too much of a gentle giant.
    Lacks the bite and athleticism to be up there with the best in the PL.
    With time and space (which you rarely get in the PL), he’s right up there with the best. Would excel in Spain or Italy.

    We have twice the creativity of most teams already with Modric and VdV. What we need to balance the side is Palacios back to his early form, Sandro to find his feet or failing that, sign Diarra from Real.

  12. Superfitorfalse

    January 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    TMWNN You should team up with Horny Helen she needs to got to Speck Savers two for one specks. Please dont make stupid statements about speed in the prem if you are not in the no. Hudds can hit a ball like Tiger can chip like Tiger and shoot like tiger with is many many Girls the lad has class .You and Helen have none

  13. john

    January 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Useless article. We coped well without Modric last season and this. Does that mean we don’t need him either? Tom is the best passer in the league and of course we miss him. If he had been available we might well have won more games convincingly and not drawn or lost any of the others. Football is subjective but anyone who can’t see Tom’s quality should maybe watch a different sport. Horny Helen is a gooner plant has no brain and should be pitied as such.

  14. Matt

    January 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    The emergence of the BAE-Bale and Hutton-Lennon partnerships on the flanks has somewhat blunted the pain of Hudd’s absence. That said, we’ve certainly seen significant spells of play where his ball distribution has been badly missed.

    There’s a real risk of running Modric into the ground as the season wears on, as neither Palacios nor Jenas contribute terribly much when it comes to moving the ball from back to front. (Palacios has other redeeming qualities, when he’s in form. Jenas?)

    The threat of Hudd zinging the ball to Bale, Lennon and even Crouch opens up even more space for Modric and VDV to create in the middle of the park.

  15. bb

    January 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    you don’t know what you’re talking about, you idiot. Of course he’s been missed, who wouldn’t miss him?

  16. The V

    January 9, 2011 at 9:27 am

    We’ve scraped wins without him so yes you could be classed as an idiot.
    If we get Diarra then we have real choice but without him we are left to use players that aren’t up to his standards – jenas and palacios ( sandro needs a run but that’s another topic ).

    Nutshell you’d sell all the other midfielders that aren’t used a lot before the Thud.

  17. The V

    January 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

    PS Horny Helen is devoid ( scouse translation – she’s a divvy)

  18. jC 11

    January 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

    “Hurry back and prove me wrong Tommy.”

    Do you actually watch Spurs play or just the MOTD highlights every other week? He’s already proved you wrong in the fact he’s been our most understated midfielders in the last 18 months before he got injured.

    Next time you watch a game, actually take note of Palacios/Jenas’ overall contribution in midfield … they are mid-table standard players whereas Hudd is consistently one of the best passers in the league.

    Diarra? Do me a favour, We’ve already got Sandro and Palacios who play very similar roles – (just not consistently well)

  19. lieutenant

    January 9, 2011 at 11:13 am

    …I miss tom huddlestone great in 3-2-4-1 formation any three center backs sandro hudd modric van der vaart two wide men then new striker eg: suarez! bang! in the goals…

  20. Tottenham Hotdog

    January 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Does anyone know when our lynch-pin will return? COYS!

  21. David

    January 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I posted on the original article – we’ve had almost double points ratio and played more dangerous football since Huddlestone’s injury yet some of you are trying to argue. Over three or four games it might be down to luck but its been the case over ten games so stop being so narrow minded.

    While Jenas and Palacios misplace more passes and make more stupid decisions than Tom they’ve also been contributing in ways he’s incapable of because of his lack of pace, like driving forward with the ball, supporting attacks and most importantly making it safer for Modric to play higher up the field because of their recovery pace. Any fan with half a brain can see how much more influential Luca’s been recently and while Tom’s more talented than Jenas or Palacios, it’s a team game, and whatever he does contribute to our game has been offset by this – the proof’s in the pudding.

    I like Tom but a lot Modric is capable of most the things some people think we’d miss. All the other best teams play with one creative central midfielder and one focussed on solidifying the team and getting the most out of the creative one, and it’s probably our next step forward, which is why Harry was looking at Scott Parker. I’m hoping we get Lassana Diarra. Him and one more striker, maybe a better fullback and we’d be run away with the title.

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