Huddersfield Town v Stoke City - Terriers is where the heart is for Duane Holmes

“Something I have learnt,” says Carlos Corberan, “is once a Terrier, always a Terrier.”

Duane Holmes signs for Huddersfield Town. (Photo by William Early/Getty Images)

As the coach makes plain whenever he is asked about them, transfers are not his remit, but it is a mantra Huddersfield Town’s recruitment department has taken to heart.

Duane Holmes is the third player re-signed on Corberan’s watch, albeit Richard Keogh’s loan was fleeting compared to Danny Ward’s four years.

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Having grown up a Huddersfield fan, Holmes is once more where his heart is.

Duane Holmes of Huddersfield Town back in 2013. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Part of this summer’s reset was about rebuilding identity. It is not all about West Yorkshiremen – Corberan is Spanish and Town’s most successful coach of modern times, David Wagner, was a German who played for the USA – but they help. Even Holmes was born on the other side of the Atlantic, but grew up in Wakefield.

The 26-year-old insisted he never wanted to leave as the Wagnerian era was starting to blossom. He returns determined to be a role model for those, like him, who just want to play for “their” club. This afternoon’s Championship visit of Stoke City could be his chance to do so again after rejoining from Derby County on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

“I was speaking to (Huddersfield-born goalkeeper) Ryan Schofield about how proud we are to represent this club so I want to make sure the young lads coming through know what it means and what the fans expect,” he says. “My friends will be the first ones on my back if I’m not performing but we’re all here to work as hard as we can and ultimately that’s all the fans ask for.

“It definitely means more to players coming through and playing for their hometown club. This club means so much to me and I know it so well. I’ve seen the fans and I know what they expect.

“I was really disappointed to leave so to come back to your boyhood club is a dream. I’d not been getting as much game-time as I liked, David Wagner came in and I played a bit more but the club wanted to go in a different direction and I didn’t end up getting a contract (in 2016).

“Clubs are going to want the best players and if that means investing in boys from beyond the local area that’s what they’ll do but it’s always nice when you see someone coming through at their hometown club and doing well.”

Holmes returns a better player and person.

“I think the fans will be happy with what they see,” he says. “I think I’m a more well-rounded footballer than when I was last here.

“I’m still a Yorkshire boy at heart so that was tough being outside of my favoured part of the world but as a person I’ve matured a lot.

“I’d like to see myself now as a role model to the younger players, especially the ones coming through the academy.”

His own role model is still here.

“Anyone who can complete a bleep test and be the ultra-professional Hoggy (Jonathan Hogg) is, there’s no one better to learn from,” he says. “When I spoke to him about coming back he was more concerned about me going out fishing with him when we’re allowed but he spoke about the manager and the club and how we want to play and stuff like that.

“He wasn’t lying, the training’s tough! It’s working because on the pitch they’re playing really well but the results haven’t mirrored the performances sometimes.

“The way we press, the way we run, the way we wan to play football is exactly how the game should be played. It’s that sort of attacking, aggressive football I want to be part of.

“It’s never a dull game, you know they’re going to press and attack for 97, 98 minutes and that’s realistically what the fans want to see and what we want to do as players.”

If the job was just to work hard for the cause, half of Huddersfield could do it. Despite taking the No 9 shirt, Holmes’s job could be filling the considerable hole left by the injury to on-loan Ajax midfielder Carel Eiting.

“I’ll be honest, it was the sheer lack of numbers available,” he says of his number. “I would have chosen 25. Danny Ward’s got that so it will be a big game of rock, paper, scissors in the summer!

“I’m hoping I can just bring that cutting edge, the final product, and be the one that tries to beat a man and help us score more goals.”

That he perhaps has unfinished business excites his coach.

“The club’s changed a lot in the last few years but when you have worked for a club you always have something inside yourself, a type of link and this is positive because when you return maybe you have a special feeling,” argues Corberan. “If you did amazing work before, your challenge is to repeat what you were doing; if you didn’t have a good time your challenge will be to change the feeling of everyone.

“For me Duane is a No 10 (in the hole behind the striker) or an 8 (a deeper attacking midfielder), he can play both. At Derby he was playing as a No 7 (right winger) too but I prefer him to play as a No 11 (left winger).

“If I have to imagine him now, I imagine him in the middle as an 8 or as a 10, or on the left as an 11, with the option to help the team to build attacks and create space for the full-backs.”

Wherever he does it from, Holmes hopes he might experience some of what he missed out on first time.

“I knew they were on the verge of something special with David because he was a special coach,” he says. “He used methods that you’d never seen before and I was gutted not to be a part of it.

“You get that feeling again in the performances especially. When it all clicks it will be a really good time.”

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