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Man Utd 2-1 Spurs: Insufficient Contribution From The Hudd

Well first of all, an apology to ‘Arry Redknapp – I could barely disguise my displeasure yesterday at the twitchy one’s purported plan to field his weakest possible XI, instead of his full-strength team, in an effort to ensure defeat vs Man Utd and reduce fixture congestion as we battle relegation. However, it seems the cheeky scamp was playing us (meaning me) for fools all along. Play his weakest possible team? He had no such plan lined up at all. Oh how he must have chortled when he submitted his team sheet at Old Trafford, replete with Pav, Modric and Corluka, and not a Ricky Rocha in sight. How Alex Ferguson must have quaked in his boots when the cunning plan was unveiled. While Defoe was benched and Woodgate completely absent, the team was nevertheless fairly strong, at least if measured by salaries.Alas, it didn’t work. While an improvement upon the Burnley mess, we never really looked like winning and Man Utd were not required to hit top gear. There were some encouraging signs – the continued decent form of Dawson, the continued positive attitude Bentley, a better showing from young Alnwick – but there was also a pretty obvious difference in class, neatly epitomised by the build-up and finish to Berbatov’s goal. We struggled to put them under sustained pressure, and created few decent chances.

Thanks to the wondrous efficiency of the London Underground – comparable to Darren Bent in terms of value for money – I managed to miss the first ten minutes of the game. I therefore missed the goal (insert another Darren Bent gag here) – and also, it appears, the only worthwhile contribution of the last two games from the Hudd. Despite being given the platform of a 4-5-1 formation he created little over the 80 minutes I saw. I do doff my cap in his general direction in recognition of the sweet little pass for Pav’s goal, but he really ought to have been looking to pull the strings throughout. Instead, Man Utd won the midfield battle, while Hudd’s distribution was at best average, and his work-rate pretty woeful.

I may do him a disservice, in that he’s not a natural workhouse of an athlete, and therefore even if he is sincerely attempting to harry opponents and win tackles, the effect on the pitch is of a fat man lumbeing from point A to point B as if treading through quicksand. While nippy opponents scurry hither and thither, Hudd puffs and pants after them, apologetically sticking out a leg in the general direction of play, well after ball and opponent have passed him by. Given his limitations in winning the ball, much depends upon what he does with it – but when his passing radar is a little awry he’s more of a hindrance than a help.

The Hudd emerged in the team as the heir apparent to Michael Carrick, a player who was also a relatively weak tackler for a deep-lying midfielder, but who made up for it with his quite exquisite passing ability, not to mention the capacity to dip his shoulder and turn away from trouble, irrespective of how many opponents were crowding him out (a talent these days exhibited by Modric). Hudd’s passing can occasionally be of a similar, jaw-droppingly good level as Carrick’s was – but there’s the rub: it’s occasional. And typically, such occasions will see us already in cruise control in a game, and playing at the Lane. Cruise control hasn’t really been in operation this season, and the need for bite in midfield has been painfully obvious.

Still in his early 20s there is time for Hudd to develop his game, but how many more chances do we give him to prove he can boss a game from central midfield? Opponents of lesser ability but greater energy will continue to get the better of him, as Burnley did last week, and this might not be a risk we can afford to take given our current plight. It’s a tricky one, as his passing has at times had us drooling, and is very much in the stylish Tottenham mould. Rumour has it that Martin Jol (blessed be his name) is considering a bid to take him to Hamburg, and it’s certainly conceivable that he would thrive in a European league. However, too many more anonymous games and ‘Arry’s patience will snap, if it hasn’t already done so.

5 Responses

  1. leonardo Says:

    Agree on Hudd although I think that none of our midfielders look good playing alongside Zokora. Once again Jenas looks like a good player by not being there! I’d like to sit Hudd down in front of a Tevez video (and maybe some stats) to show him how much more he could/should be doing. Sods law is that if we let Hudd go, some other club would turn him into a decent player with strong fitness levels/work ethic – or he might prosper in another less physical league. Maybe he can develop this over time at Spurs – if only Harry can boot him out of his comfort zone – I’m sure he will try.

  2. kay Says:

    hudd plays in slow motion

  3. davspurs Says:

    There is one point missing from this article ,hudds whas in great form and capped it of with that thuderous shot in the EUFA then harry started resting him and playing moderic 442 tom sat on the bench unused then when he played he got hurt the last thing big tom whants is to sit on the bench and but weight on .This lad through 15 or so stone around a wet quadmire of a pitch with extra time and you expect him to boss the midfield away to utd get real carrick and scholes teves had more energy than the whole of the spurs team Hudds plays better when lennon plays he runs for toms passes and his allways an outlet for tom and near the end of games he runs up the middle thats when tom does is best work moderic should play closer to tom like jenas does .

  4. Geoff H Says:

    You hit the nail on the head about the Hudd (I wonder if Bent could have been that accurate).

    Huddlestone seems to have gone backwards since Happy Harry’s arrival (complete with the Ketchup) and that is sad for (i) the team within which he should be a key player, (ii) the crowd who are not treated to his undoubted skills and (iii) the player himself who is in danger of failing to achieve. Huddlestone has all the attributes to be a top player but above all needs the discipline to control his weight which is an obvious challenge for him as well as to appreciate that, however much effort he may think he is giving he can always give more.

    It may well be that he would be more effective playing on the continent where his type of player gets more space but what a shame if Spurs loose out on what he could be.

    The obvious comparison is with Hoddle who benefited greatly from having Ardilles buzzing around him, nicking balls from the opposing midfield and knocking them off to Hoddle so that he could play the killer pass. Neither Zokora nor Jenas can do that as effetively as Ossie could.

    That leads to an interesting opportunity for comparison – cf, Miller and Roberts with Woodgate and Dawson; Galvin with Bently, Crooks and Archibald with Defoe and Pavlyachenko etc., even Burkinshaw with Redknapp? Some of today’s players seem to stand up well but there is a need to find a blend – which Burkinshaw did with flying colours – and the results flowed. Unfortunately Spurs had to rise from the old DIv 2 to enter that particualr era!

  5. Andrew Dennis Says:

    The Spurs disease has stuck again……………No patience!!

    The speed in which we write people off at White Hart Lane is embarrassing and is one of the many reasons why we have been a nothing club since Keith Burkinshaw walked away 25years ago with the UEFA cup on his lap telling all those that would listen that –

    ‘ There use to be a football club there once’.

    Apart from Stevie G(and lets not forget that Carrick had only 8assists and 2goals in 2full seasons at Spurs)there isn’t a better English passer in the Premiership.

    If Lennon isn’t on the field of play,what is Hudd suppose to when nobody and i mean nobody in a Spurs shirt offers any form of movement or angles of run for a player of his ability is in possession of the ball?

    The frustrating thing about the modern day Premiership fan,is that many of them don’t know their clubs history,ideology or playing beliefs.

    Spurs’s motto Is To dare is to do.The legend that is Bill Nick,hes whole footballing mantra was ‘If your not in Possession get into position’.

    Between 1978 and 79,we nearly lost Glenn Hoddle on several occasions because of Keith Burks frustration with his in and output and Glenn’s annoyance of being played up front along side Colin Lee!!(Again, if you don’t know your clubs history,you wouldn’t know these facts!).

    Huddlestone trys to play the Spurs way.It doesn’t always come off,but when does it?Not very often since 1984 because we panic and don’t allow any body(players and managers)to develop.

    91 players and 3managers have come and gone in 4&a half seasons down at The Lane,ridiculous and embarrassing,yet sadly it proves my point about our lack of patience

    Its very easy to listen to Andy Townsend and Teddy Sheringham and jump on the ‘Hudd didn’t do it’ bandwagon.But why didn’t we hear them say-

    ‘Why cant Zokora hit a 40yard pass with either foot,why hasn’t Modric dominated like he did in Euro 2008,why doesn’t Bentley stop posing,get some speed and realise he is playing for the mighty Tottenham Hotspur Football club?

    No, its always too easy to take a cheap shot and do what we do so well in this country, criticise the play maker.Hoddle,Currie,Bowles,Le Tissier,Worthington,Marsh,Laurie Cunningham etc,etc have suffered in the past and now its Huddlestones turn.

    Yes,hes not the quickest or the most agile but i don’t remember that being a problem for the 2time league ,1time FA cup ,European cup winner and An field favourite Jan Molby. Yet they used him with great efficiency and put players around him that would the things he couldn’t but were good enough to benefit from his brilliance when the ball was at his feet.

    Glenn Hoddle thinks that Tom Huddlestone is one of the best footballing prospects we have in this country.Thats a good enough recommendation for me.

    He is still only 20 years of age and finding this place,feet and know how in the footballing world.Lets not lose a player who we all know to be talented,because he isn’t turning it on everyweek and curring our frustration at our clubs inability to be a dominate force on the worlds game like we use to be.

    It took the White Hart Lane faithful 5years after making his debut in 1975,to truly see the talent that was Glenn Huddle.

    Patience is a virtual!!

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