Making excuses for JJ and Hudd
Tom Huddlestone is looking fit. Tight physique, strong powerful legs. It's enough to make my inner-Brüno smash his way through the closet door and reaching for his kugelsack. Ooh.
But alas, we said the same thing last season when Tommy was snapped with the lads, enjoying a swim and lark out in the sea during some frolicsome pre-season antics. It's a fallacy that he's fat. He's a big lad with a round face. He's had moments when he's over-done the mayo and ketchup and piled on some extra pounds.
But when he's in this type of shape (the slim type), there is no arguing he looks the part. Shame looking part isn't enough. And who am I kidding? He might not be fat in the way some of our fans in the Park Lane are, but he's far too big to be able to turn his vision and technique into something consistent and decimating.
Hudd's main problem is agility. He's not mobile enough. His stamina is questionable. He lacks any real acceleration. You know the drill. It's the same textbook excuses that get repeated with each passing year. Against weaker sides he excels, but doesn't do it often enough against the bigger sides (although there was one afternoon against Chelsea where he put in a superb shift). There is something about Tom that doesn't allow us to easily part with him. His passing is exceptional. He has a cracking shot on him. Whether he is a victim of his own build (too big to be a central midfield with any real clout) or whether hard work in the gym and on the training ground can aid him to be more involved in the tussles (rather than get passed by) continue to remain unanswered. With Zoko gone and Spurs needing to sign another CM (for backup at the very least), I can see us holding onto Hudd for another season - but when does one make a decision that the answers we are looking for will never be forthcoming?
In this day and age, CM's are far more versatile and adaptable. They can do a bit of everything. As discussed several times before - he isn't good enough for us to build the team around him and compensate for his deficiencies. But if you're planning to build a team around someone - they should not have deficiencies. Having him sit in the middle of the park with Palacios protecting him wouldn't work - because one player should not have to do the work of two. Modric might well play alongside Wilson in the middle, and even though he's a lickle man, he can handle himself just fine. You have to be qualities that are more than just promises.
Talking of playing well against lesser opposition. Jermaine Jenas is still with us. 26 years of age now. And we'll still waiting for him to defeat his demons. You know. The ones that gag and handcuff his confidence to the bed. The difference between being a decent player and an exceptional player is all in the mind. The great JJ divide is that everyone within the game rate him highly, and the fans in the stands don't. But we persevere. We persist. He's Zokorish in the sense that he's a great athlete. But having a great engine means nothing if you fail to make the trip from one stop to the next. The ride becomes redundant. A wasted journey.
Are we too loyally? Too emotionally attached? Should we be a little more brutal with decision making? In both JJ and Hudd, we have two players that promise so much but fail to deliver consistently enough to warrant a true first team place (although JJ has for a long time cemented his role in the side, much to the confusion of many).
Ironically, when JJ doesn't play - we appear to miss his presence. He must do something then? Something understated to the virgin eyes of the average fan, but imperative to the experienced manager barking orders from his technical box. Yet as much as I want to see what several managers (at national and international level) see, I fail each time. Jenas doesn't have a bit if everything, he just desperately has a go at everything. He tries to defend and he attempts to get involved in a creative manner, but running around the pitch endlessly doesn't equate to a defensive midfielder or an attacking one. He's way too apologetic with his dithering and his much maligned confidence has held him back since the days he swam around in the goldfish bowl. We cling onto hope because now and again he does something special and we see that as some form of preview for what he might be able to achieve every given Saturday.
And with Modric and Palacios now part of the furniture, players of the ilk of Jenas and Tommy suddenly look far more reminiscent of luxury players that need to be accommodated rather than players who can adapt, take the game by the scruff of the neck and lead by example. Players that are for the best part, average most of the time and exceptional on occasion. This has been easily illustrated as fact when you watch the likes of Wilson and Luka play.
Maybe our continued mistake is waiting for the question to be answered, when what we should be doing is replacing the question with a brand new one. The type that comes with a brand new signing.