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Derby County Opinion: Tom Huddlestone’s extension can be a big boost


According to BBC Sports, Derby County midfielder Tom Huddlestone has triggered an extension to his current contract which will now run until the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

The same report adds that the 32-year-old had an extension clause in his contract which has been activated based on the number of appearances he has made for the Rams.

Huddlestone played 47 times in all competitions last season and he has already made a total of 26 appearances this term.

The veteran has found himself in and out of the first-team under Frank Lampard in the Championship but he has still managed 19 starts in the league this season.

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Huddleston, now 32, made his senior debut for Derby County back in 2003 as a 16-year-old and joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2005 where he enjoyed his most fruitful spell as a player.

The Englishman returned to Pride Park in 2017 following extended spells at Spurs and Hull City and has made a total of 165 appearances for Derby over the course of two spells.

In all, Huddlestone boasts of a mammoth 548 senior competitive appearances for Spurs, Derby, Wolves and Hull over the course of his illustrious 16-year-long professional career, accumulating 26 goals and 49 assists.

The 4-cap English international has always been known as a robust, all-action and tough-tackling central midfielder with high levels of energy. However, it would be fair to say that age has taken a toll on his performances.

He is not quite the same engine that was capable of dominating the midfield with his energetic presence and well-rounded passing ability. The goals and assists have dried up for the veteran and he is nowhere near the player that he was in his youthful days.

Well, that’s not to say he is a bad player nowadays. Huddlestone has slowed down a bit and his reflexes aren’t quite the same anymore but he still has enough left in his tank to be a useful squad player for a promotion-chasing side in the Championship.

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It is a long and hard slog for all the teams in the second tier, and given his age, he is unlikely to be handed a start in each and every game, but his experience of playing at the highest level is an invaluable asset to a team like Derby County.

Moreover, he is still a good passer of the ball, knows how to use possession to good effect and has a penchant for scoring goals from range.

There is another reason, though, why the news regarding Huddlestone’s contract extension is bound to please the fans at Pride Park. The Rams look set to lose the services of Craig Bryson at the end of the season, with Rangers,  Kilmarnock and Hearts all weighing up moves for the out-of-contract midfielder.

Undoubtedly, losing two experienced players in the same position simultaneously would have been a huge blow for Derby and they do not have good enough alternatives to fill the void.

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Bryson’s departure might just see Huddlestone enjoy more first-team involvement next season and it is quite easy to figure out why the fans should be happy to see their former academy product prolong his stay for another season.

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