Professional athletes often get shipped off by their teams and give interviews about how they felt they were not properly valued by said team one day later. Be shocked, ladies and gentlemen, because Tom Huddlestone is the latest athlete to fall into that category. He talked to the Guardian about his frustration at the inconsistent opportunities he was given last season.
Here's Huddlestone's quote about not getting into the team on a regular basis.
"I'd play some games and the results were good and my personal performances were good but then I'd find myself out of the team for six or seven weeks without any explanation. That was frustrating and I'm not one of those players who goes and knocks on the manager's door every Monday morning if I'm not playing, I just get my head down, graft during the week and try to get back in to the team. I felt I deserved more of a run in the team and that is partly why I've come to Hull - to play regularly, enjoy myself and show what I can do."
The only point at which Huddlestone had a long spell where he did not play was after the FA Cup loss to Leeds in late January. He started and went all 90 minutes in Tottenham's final five league games of the season. In total, across all competitions, he started 16 games and was a sub in 11 more. It's hardly a full schedule, but it's enough time to prove himself. In those games, Huddlestone looked serviceable, but far from spectacular. It took him until May to look like he was anything close to his former self.
Huddlestone probably believes he should have started nearly every game that he was fit for and that he performed well enough to stay in the team. Even though that's almost certainly incorrect, his position is an understandable one on account of him being a high-level professional athlete. Players simply don't get to the level Huddlestone has reached unless they're supremely confident in their abilities. If you don't believe that you can start for a Champions League club someday when you're in your 20s, you probably won't even make it to the high reaches of the Championship.
Big Tom isn't as good as Moussa Dembele, Sandro or Paulinho. He might have more skill than Scott Parker, but he can't exactly play the high-energy role that Scotty played for much of last season. At this point in their careers -- not just because of potential -- I don't think he deserves a spot over Little Tom. He would say that I'm wrong and that's exactly why he was as good as he was at the peak of his game.
No matter what Huddlestone says about the club and its management, I will remember his years at the club fondly and I hope he goes on to perform well at Hull. I don't take any of this personally and no one else should. Heck, I doubt AVB does.