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Tom Huddlestone: The Story So Far

17 August 2021

An in-depth look at the career of the Tigers’ latest signing, Tom Huddlestone…

 

Raised in Nottingham, Huddlestone progressed through the youth ranks at Forest before joining neighbours Derby’s academy at the age of 12.

A precocious talent, he was voted man of the match on his professional debut in a 3-0 opening day home defeat to Stoke in August 2003, aged just 16.

He appeared in 43 of the Rams’ 46 league fixtures that season and missed just one Championship match the following campaign, being named in the 2004/05 PFA Team of the Year.

His exceptional performances helped Derby finish fourth and reach the play-offs, where they were beaten by Preston 2-0 on aggregate.

The second leg proved the final game – after 95 appearances – of his first spell at Pride Park, having already agreed to join Tottenham in January for a fee of £2.5m.

He continued to learn his trade in the second tier on loan at Wolves during the first half of 2005/06, scoring his first career goal – incidentally – back at Derby in a 3-0 win.

After 13 matches at Molineux, Huddlestone returned to White Hart Lane and made his Premier League debut as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat at Fulham in January 2006.

He played 35 times for Spurs in all competitions in 2006/07 and broke his Premier League goalscoring duck in spectacular style with a ferocious half-volley in a 2-1 win at Manchester City.

The 2007/08 season further established his reputation as a classy midfield operator and saw him collect silverware as Tottenham beat Chelsea to win the League Cup.

The Lilywhites reached the final again a year later but lost to Manchester United on penalties, while the following campaign, 2009/10, was arguably his finest in a Spurs shirt.

A key figure under Harry Redknapp, he made 33 Premier League appearances as Tottenham finished fourth and secured Champions League qualification for the first time.

It was during that season that Huddlestone, a regular for England at various youth levels, gained full international honours.

He received the first of four senior caps in a 1-0 loss to Brazil in November 2009 and featured in 3-1 and 2-1 victories over Mexico and Japan respectively the following May.

Injuries limited his minutes over the next three seasons, with his last England outing coming away to Sweden during his final year with Spurs in 2012/13.

After 15 goals in 209 appearances in North London, the defensive midfielder completed a £5.25m switch to Hull City in August 2013.

Becoming an instant fans' favourite, Huddlestone excelled during his first season in East Yorkshire, forming an impressive midfield partnership with Jake Livermore and playing 40 times in league and cup.

His maiden Tigers goal, in a 6-0 thrashing of Fulham in December 2013, was his first in over two years and prompted a memorable hair cut celebration on the sidelines.

He went on to score another three times that season, including the third in a 5-3 semi-final victory over Sheffield United at Wembley as Hull City reached a first FA Cup final.

The club went on to achieve its highest-ever league finish of 16th in the Premier League and Huddlestone was part of the Tigers’ maiden European adventure at the start of 2014/15.

Although relegated that season, Huddlestone was integral to the Tigers bouncing back at the first attempt, making 47 appearances during the 2015/16 Championship play-off winning campaign.

A regular during the 2016/17 Premier League term, which also ended in demotion disappointment, he returned to Derby in July 2017 after eight goals in 161 outings in black and amber.

His second spell at Pride Park saw him make 90 appearances and help Derby to successive Championship play-off finishes, in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The 2019/20 season was his last in the East Midlands, with his final competitive appearance to date coming against the Tigers in a 1-0 Rams win in January 2020.

Huddlestone has spent the last four weeks training with Hull City and featured in the pre-season friendlies against Scunthorpe and Manchester United Under-23s, scoring a crisp 25-yarder in the latter.


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