984 Tom Huddlestone

Biography

Tom Huddlestone was a tall, lavishly skilful midfielder whose mastery of the football was absolute, but whose end product at times did not match the effortless ability on display.  He joined Hull City in August 2013 for a £5.25m fee, at the time a club record fee paid.  He slotted into the City midfield alongside ex-Spurs team-mate Jake Livermore and in his first season he broke a lengthy goal scoring drought and had his hair cut, piloted City to a successful return to the Premier League and was prominent as the Tigers reach the FA Cup Final in May 2014 – Tom contributed a fine semi-final goal against Sheffield United in April 2014. In July 2014 he played in City’s first ever European foray, seeing a penalty saved and blootering the rebound over the crossbar in the first match agaimnst AS Trencin in Slovakia, then missing a fine short range chance in the final seconds of the last match at home to Lokeren. 

Tom’s second season was less effective and as City were relegated back in the Championship Huddlestone struggled for form. He stayed at City when they dropped into the Championship and his struggle continued as he was regularly used off the bench, however as the season reached its climax Tom rediscovered his mojo and he piloted the Tigers to an end of the season play-offs victory against Sheffield Wednesday.  He showed better form on City’s brief return to the top flight in the 2016/17 season, especially when given a pivotal midfield role by Marco Silva in the final months of the season, but another relegation led to him leaving the Tigers after four seasons.

Thomas Andrew Huddlestone was born in Nottingham but was not able to make an impact as a teenager at Nottingham Forest. He quickly rose to prominence once he came of footballing age at League Division 1 side Derby County, making his first team debut against Stoke City in August 2003 three months prior to his 17th birthday.  After two seasons as a first team regular in which he took his Rams tally to 95 senior appearances, Huddlestone switched to Tottenham Hotspur in July 2005 season (though the deal had been struck the preceding January). He was soon loaned to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers for half a season to get more first team experience – he made 13 appearances for the Molineux side and scored his first senior goal in November 2005 against his former club Derby County. 

Tom made his Spurs’ debut in January 2006 against Fulham and spent another seven seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, rarely becoming a permanent first team fixture but always impressing with his lavish yet seemingly effortless passing ability. In September 2006 he made his debut in European competition against Slavia Prague, later in the 2006/07 season he played in both legs of the League Cup semi-final that Spurs lost to local rivals Arsenal. He also played in the second leg of the 2007/08 League Cup semi-final that saw the previous season’s defeat to Arsenal reversed, and Tom came on as substitute in the February 2008 Wembley final that ended in Tottenham defeating another London rival Chelsea in extra time. In January 2009 he played in his third League Cup semi-final in three years against Burnley, but was unused substitute for the Wembley final that saw Manchester United win on penalties. In April 2010 he played in his first FA Cup Semi Final, which ended in defeat to Portsmouth, a negative that he was able to rectify four years later.

By the 2012/13 season Huddlestone was being selected by Tottenham less frequently and his final appearance for the club came in May 2013 against Sunderland – in eight seasons at White Hart Lane Huddlestone had scored 15 goals in 209 senior appearances.

In July 2017, with the Tigers relegated back to the Championship and Huddlestone having a a bargain basement £2 million release clause triggered as a result, he was tempted by an offer to return to his first club, Championship side Derby County. He missed only two league games in the 2017/18 season as the Rams qualified for the play-offs only to be defeated at the semi-final stage by Fulham. He was used more sparingly in the 2018/19 season as Derby again reached the play-offs, blasting past Leeds United in the semi-final only lose the Wembley final to Aston Villa. Tom was a more peripheral figure in the 2019/20 season as Derby’s financial woes took hold and his last appearance for the Rams came in January 2020 against Hull City. Huddlestone left Derby County in July 2020 having compiled a further 90 senior appearances and two goals for the club.

After a season out of football Huddlestone drifted back to Hull and started training with Grant McCann’s Tigers squad in the summer of 2021 as the club prepared itself for a season back at Championship level. In mid-August 2021 Huddlestone signed a one year contract with the club, adding his range of passing and considerable experience to McCann’s young squad and making his second City debut against former club Derby County – the reverse of his last senior appearance nineteen months earlier. He made his last appearance for the Tigers in May 2022 against his boyhood team Nottingham Forest, stroking the ball around the pitch with aplomb for twenty minutes then giving away a soft penalty – a fitting microcosm of Tom’s senior career.

In August 2022 Huddlestone commenced a second footballing career in coaching when he was appointed player-coach for Manchester United’s under-21 team, turning out four times for the academy side in the 2022/23 EFL Trophy. In October 2023 he added a fifth EFL Trophy appearance for the Red Devils against Salford City, then in May 2024 he announced his departure from the Old Trafford club to seek pastures new. In July 2024 he was appointed first team coach at League One side Wigan Athletic, working under first team manager and fellow ex-Tiger Shaun Maloney.

Huddlestone had a long involvement with the England international setup during his younger years. He made his debut for England Under-16s against Wales in November 2001 and went on to earn six caps at the level before progressing to the Under-17s and earning ten caps during the 2002/03 season following his July 2002 debut against Italy. He debuted for England Under-19s in February 2004 against Netherlands and added three further caps in September, October and November 2004 before rising to the Under-20 squad that competed in the June 2005 Toulon tournament, making four appearances. In February 2005 he made his debut for England Under-21 against Netherlands at Derby’s Pride Park and played at that level for four years, scoring five goals in 33 appearances before his final Under-21 appearance against France in March 2009.

Huddlestone was first selected for the England senior squad in May 2008 but remained an unused substitute in a friendly against USA. His senior debut came in November 2009 against Brazil, he won three further caps against Mexico and Japan in May 2010, and against Sweden in November 2012.

Details

Nationality: England
Date/Place of Birth28 December 1986, Nottingham
Hull City First Game: 18 August 2013, Chelsea A (Premier League), 26 years, 233 days old
Hull City Final Game7 May 2022, Nottingham Forest H (Championship), 35 years, 130 days old

Clubs

Derby County (2002-2005), Tottenham Hotspur (2005-2013), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2005-2006, loan), Hull City (2013-2017), Derby County (2017-2020), Hull City (2021-2022), Manchester United (2022-2024)

Hull City Record

Career: 173 apps, 8 goals

Tom Huddlestone
SeasonLGE
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2013/1435 (1)34 (0)1
2014/1530 (1)01 (0)02 (1)0
2015/1624 (13)23 (1)02 (1)03 (0)0
2016/1723 (8)12 (0)03 (3)1
2021/224 (7)00 (1)0

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