Tom Huddlestone has opened up on his short international career
Now, having turned 30 in December, he admits his career has not quite gone to plan as he watches on as former club-mates Jake Livermore and Jermain Defoe earn recalls to the national team.
Those two former team-mates have impressed in the bottom half of the table and, despite some calls for Huddlestone to get another go, he missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad and is unlikely to add to his four caps.
Even with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere unavailable and the Frank Lampards and Steven Gerrard’s long gone, he was still overlooked.
Jake Livermore and Jermain Defoe have made the England squad
England squad during Jermain Defoe's last start
Tue, March 21, 2017
Click to reveal the England squad during Jermain Defoe's last international start, an 8-0 thrashing of San Marino in 2013
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This is the England squad from Jermain Defoe's last international game in 2013
“It has been four years or so since I got my last England cap, so that ship might have sailed but for people like Phil Thompson to mention me like that is pleasing and I must be doing something right.
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“I think I could have been in a few more [England] squads previously especially when I was playing every game at Spurs and we were finishing fourth and fifth. But I wasn’t really involved in the England set up, which was disappointing at the time and then I got a couple of injuries which kept me out for a while.
“Then people were saying similar in my first season at Hull but that never happened so I think after that you don’t expect to be called up again regardless of how well you’re playing.”
Part of the problem was that, at international level, he was competing with the likes of Lampard, Paul Scholes, Gareth Barry and Gerrard, who he describes as the ultimate midfield player.
Tom Huddlestone admits it was a daunting challenge to usurp Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard
“It was a good era of midfielders,” said Huddlestone, whose appeal against his red card in the 4-0 defeat by Everton on Saturday has been rejected. “But I compare my career to players I was in England Under-21s with for three or four years and it’s OK.
“I’ve recently turned 30 and chalked up 400-and-something games so I feel my career so far has been good. At the minute I’m feeling fitter and more tactically aware than I have in my career, so I feel I’ve got a few good years left in me yet.”
Huddlestone has always been grounded and never one to shout about himself or get too excited, even when those links to Hoddle and Beckenabur first surfaced.
Tom Huddlestone was speaking on behalf of the SportPesa All Stars
“They are flattering at the time but even from an early age you know not to get too carried away with people building you up,” he said.
Strangely, in an era dominated by the ego, Huddlestone probably could have gone further with a bigger one.
Tom Huddlestone was speaking on behalf of SportPesa, who are giving away five pairs of tickets for Hull City’s upcoming match against West Ham, visit www.twitter.com/SportPesa_UK for more details.