Promise of game time was spur for Huddlestone to join Tigers

IN an ideal world, Tom Huddlestone will be sitting in a barber’s chair come Monday morning enjoying a long overdue haircut.

To do so, however, the Hull City midfielder will, thanks to a charity wager struck with a few mates, have to achieve something that he has not managed since April, 2011 – score a Premier League goal.

As tomorrow’s opponents are the club where he spent eight happy years, Huddlestone appreciates more than most just what the Tigers will be up against at White Hart Lane facing a Spurs outfit who many are tipping as outsiders for the Premier League title.

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“Man for man, it could be argued that Spurs have got the strongest squad in the league,” said Huddlestone, when speaking to the Yorkshire Post at a ‘Battlefield 4’ event to promote the forthcoming release of the video game on November 1.

“Maybe it (the title) might be a step too far this year, but with the strength in depth Spurs have got they have got a realistic chance. It will be a fine balance for them between getting it right in all competitions.

“But, if it gets to January and Spurs have got a genuine chance, I am sure the chairman will back the manager and if they need to invest then they will do.”

Tomorrow will be an emotional occasion for Huddlestone, who joined Spurs as a teenager from Derby County for £2.5m in 2005.

Such a large fee raised eyebrows at the time, but, over the next eight years, the Nottingham-born midfielder more than justified the faith of then manager Martin Jol.

Not only did Huddlestone make almost 150 Premier League appearances, he also claimed a League Cup winners’ medal as Spurs beat Chelsea in 2008.

Along the way, a host of happy memories were also created including the night he captained Spurs in the San Siro and the four appearances he made for the England senior side.

No wonder, therefore, the midfielder who became the Tigers’ record signing last summer is looking forward to his North London return.

He said: “Spurs was the main part of my football life. I went there as a young lad from Derby still learning my trade and I left as an experienced man.

“It was there that I played in the Champions League and won my England caps so it was a huge part of my career. I will always have good memories of my time there.”

Asked if he had any regrets about missing out on Tottenham’s push for honours in a variety of competitions, Huddlestone replied: “No, not really. The players Spurs have signed have given them a chance of having a good season, but I am not sure how much I would have played if I had have stayed.

“There was no point in me being there if they’re top of the league and I’m not getting on the pitch.

“No matter where Spurs were I wouldn’t have been totally happy if I wasn’t playing.

“I have come here and played just about every minute since I have been here. That makes me happy.

“The main reason for me leaving was to play more football and I have managed that here. Luckily for us we have got some good results along the way.”

Asked for his outstanding personal moments in a Spurs shirt, Huddlestone replied: “The season under Harry Redknapp where we finished fourth was a big year. I played 43 games.

“We should have won the 
FA Cup that year. We lost in the semis to Portsmouth, but the main objective was to finish fourth for the Champions League.

“That season as a whole was great, but the beginning of the following season was special, playing in the Champions League, captaining the club away at the European champions Inter Milan. That was a big honour.

“We lost away but beat them at home at White Hart Lane, that was a big achievement for us. Then there was winning the Carling Cup. I came on as substitute against Chelsea and won us the penalty for the equaliser.”

Inevitably, such happy memories will fill Huddlestone’s mind as the Hull team coach inches its way up Tottenham High Road tomorrow afternoon.

His priority, though, will be securing some reward for Hull, who on their two previous visits to the Lane in the Premier League came away with a win and a draw.

Huddlestone said: “The main objective for us is to pick up more points away from home, it is not about me.

“We have had four tough games so far and this will be no different, but we need to improve.

“I have not got a point to prove to anyone other than myself.

“The last couple of games haven’t been so good (a home draw with Aston Villa and defeat at Everton) but if we can get back to our best we’ll cause them problems for sure.

“The way we went to Manchester City, where we showed no fear, should encourage us. If we had taken the lead in that game we could have won it.”

As for whether the footballing gods will be smiling on Huddlestone as he looks to end his long barren run in front of goal, the midfielder is obviously hoping for the best.

However, even though scoring against his old club would mean a long overdue cut for the afro and a boost to the coffers of charity Cancer Research, the Tigers’ record signing will be respectful to Spurs.

He added: “I will try not to (celebrate if I score) but when I went back to Pride Park (as a loan player with Wolves) I tried not to. But with it being my first career goal, things got the better of me.

“Hopefully I can score and we can get the three points, but, out of respect, I won’t be over the top with the celebration.”