Tom Huddlestone

Q & A

Hull City FC

1. Growing up as a youth player was there any particular player you modelled your playing style on?

Growing up my heroes were Cantona, Gerrard and Desailly. First was Cantona with the flair and ability he had at the time. Nobody on the league was anywhere near him at the time. When I understood football a bit more I thought Stevie G was the best midfielder in the world for a number of years. Tackling, passing, shooting he had the lot in abundance. Also being a Chelsea fan as a kid when Desailly (and Guillit before him) was a statement of the quality of players which could be attracted to the premier league. 

2. What advice do you give to the youth players looking to make it as a professional?

The main advice I could give to kids wanting to play football is believe in yourself. You have to give 100% all the time every session, game, warm up. Don’t be thinking what if. If someone tells you, you can’t.... go and show them you can.

3. Do you think there is enough support in the modern game for young players with regards to investments, social media awareness, careers outside of football?

I think the PFA are brilliant at what they do, however they could and should be used more by players or ex players. I also feel that in general many clubs and agents around players could do more to help educate younger players regarding social media posts, investments etc. Social media is great for interaction with fans but can also be a nightmare if receiving abuse for whatever reason. A bit of education on biting your tongue and being professional at all times can go a long way. Also, careers are short so players should have half an idea of what they intend to do once retired. 

4. Looking back, you’ve had a wonderful career. Moving forwards do you have any plans in place once your playing career has ended? Anything in coaching or other avenues?

I still feel I have a good number of years ahead of me playing yet. However every playing career does come to an end. I have started to prepare for that. I have a few properties at the moment which and it would be an interest to develop that portfolio. But I love football so would ideally like to stay in the game and pass on my ideas/firsthand knowledge onto younger generations in the future. I have started my coaching badges have completed my UEFA B license and currently awaiting my assessment for my UEFA A license. 

5. How is life at Hull City this season?

This season has been very up and down. The start, during preseason and the first few games was very strange. We had 12/13 first team players (not through injuries) which is unheard of. The feeling around the place was quite down and negative but there has been a massive upturn in performances and positivity since Marco Silver has come in. The lads are buying into his ideas and everyone pulling in the same direction.

6. How would you describe the pressure of being a senior player in a team that is battling for survival from relegation? 

The pressure of being a senior member of the squad is one which I am relishing and enjoying. Wether that’s doing more off the field or being more vocal on the pitch it is all good. If you lose and have to keep the lads upbeat and keep their feet on the ground if we have a good win. But we have some younger lads with good experience under their belts and are fairly mature for their ages. 

7. You’ve played under a number of managers, but who has had the most positive impact upon you

I have had quite a few managers when I go through the list. The one who I have to mention first is obviously George Burley he was brave enough to give me my debut in the first game of the season at 16 years old. He then stuck with me virtually every game for 2 seasons, would have been easy for him to bring me out the team on numerous occasions. But he stuck with me and let me play through bad games which was a tough but great learning curve. And more recently with Marco Silva he has given me and the players a lot of tactical information which we had never had before. Now I am at a different stage of my career I take a lot more of the tactical information on board and have made a few notes with ideas off the manager which I would like to use when I am eventually coaching in a few years. 

8. What do you make of the recent Chinese investment in premier league players? 

There has been a few countries which have done similar over the last few decades. Italy could attract anyone in the 80/90s then it was the Premier League and La Liga, the MLS are having a good spell also. It is slightly strange when it is one of the countries which don’t have a top top league like MLS or China but equally if can build their league it, improve the standard and the way football is viewed like the MLS then it can only be a good thing. The MLS have seen a massive upturn in their national side performances so China will be hoping for similar. 

9. What do you like to do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

Well me and my partner have recently had our first child so he is taking up a lot of our time (and sleep). Outside of training and games though I do enjoy playing golf the past 18 months or so. Also watching a lot of sports from tennis to basketball.

10. What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I do like the Caribbean and have been lucky enough to go to a few places over there. It’s hard to separate Antigua and Barbados though. If I do stay in Europe I enjoy the Algarve though, regular flights, good weather, good restaurants and good golf courses.

11. Who’s your favourite music artist?

Growing up I would only listen to Eminem over and over again until I knew each word to every song. Still do like him along with Drake who has every type of song for whatever mood you’re in. Rick Ross and Elvis also make the list but my music library is very random with its genres so anything could pop up. 

12. What’s your favourite fashion brand?

Clothes brands, I don’t really limit myself to a few. I’m open to anything really if it looks good regardless of name or price. Although I do like the fit of Dolce and Gabbana and Rick Owens.