Are the Tigers about to join the culture club?
Hull’s bid to become the UK City of Culture 2017 was delivered this week and the football team is looking every bit the cultured outfit as they ride high amongst the Premier League cognoscenti.
October 1st, 2013
One player in particular has made a major contribution to the Tigers’ excellent start to the season: Hull’s record £5m signing Tom Huddlestone has settled in quickly and produced a midfield master class against West Ham last Saturday.
The team did benefit from some debatable decision-making from referee Kevin Friend to secure the three points, but previous victories against Norwich and Newcastle have been well-deserved.
The 26-year old produced man-of-the-match performances against Newcastle and West Ham, and his good work is now attracting the attention of the current England manager Roy Hodgson.
Huddlestone has represented England at Under 17, 19, 21 and senior level back in 2010, but due to the competition of players like Gerrard, Lampard and Wilshere, the international opportunities have been limited. But such is the quality of his current performances that Huddlestone is now a serious contender for the national team. He may lack some pace but he is a technically gifted player who seems to lack little else.
Huddlestone has long needed a team to be built around his strengths. Previously at Spurs he was in and out of the team but Steve Bruce was convinced of his ability and persuaded Huddlestone that the ideal place to develop his career was at the KC Stadium. By playing regularly and being the automatic choice, the stylish midfielder has the confidence to dictate play, passing incisively and intercepting when required.
Many media pundits expected Hull to struggle in the top flight but Bruce is building a successful team around Huddlestone’s cultured play. Jake Livermore has previously played with Huddlestone at Spurs, and Robbie Brady and Ahmed Elmohamady are working tirelessly alongside them. Curtis Davies, Maynor Figueroa and Allan McGregor have added stability to the defence and Sone Aluko is proving to be a serious threat to Premier League defences.
Through his accomplished progressive play, Huddlestone could just be the catalyst to make it a successful season at previously unfancied Hull.
Photograph of Tom Huddlestone licensed under Creative Commons.