Tom Huddlestone broke into the Derby first team young; he was only 16 when he made his debut for the Championship side in mid-2003. Despite the pressure, Huddlestone impressed even as Derby lost and was named man of the match. It began the first team career of a very promising midfielder. Huddlestone would be touted as one of the top English prospects as he continued playing regularly for Derby for the next year and a half, never scoring a league goal but proving an imposing player in midfield, even at his young age who was rated extremely highly by his club.
In January 2005, at the age of 18, Huddlestone was signed by Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of around £3 million. Spurs didn’t feel Huddlestone was quite ready for the first team and he was subsequently loaned back to the Championship to play for Wolves. He impressed at Wolves, even scoring his first ever league goal – against former club Derby of all teams – and it looked like Spurs may have signed a real bargain.
He made his debut for Spurs as a substitute in January 2006 and started apperaring sporadically for the club. Huddlestone was looking even more talented than he’d done before with age, displaying great physical strength, a good range of passing and a powerful shot which got him on the scoresheet several times.
By the latter half of 2006/07 Huddlestone had established himself as a pretty important member of Martin Jol’s team and his manager even compared him to German legend Franz Beckenbauer and hailed him as a real star of the future. Jol’s departure in October 2007 meant that Huddlestone’s first team place could be under threat but instead things worked out nicely for Huddlestone and he was soon praising Ramos for a new physical agenda which had gotten him into better shape and made him an even better, and more determined, player.
But the best of Huddlestone has come under latest manager Harry Redknapp where he’s become an undisputed starter alongside Wilson Palacios in the centre of midfield. Some say that Huddlestone still isn’t good enough for a club with top four aspirations and if he was then he’d have more than 1 international cap to his name by now but Huddlestone has been a consistent performer for the club and has played the role of box-to-box midfielder well, despite lacking significant pace.
Given that Huddlestone cost just £3 million he has proven to be an absolute steal and it would be no surprise if one of the top four attempted to lure him away from White Hart Lane but Huddlestone is very happy at the club and wants to repay them for their help in his development. Many January signings go on to be flops but Huddlestone is not one of these, he’s one of the case of Spurs’ youth-buying policy coming to fruition and he could go on to get even better.