Bruce backs Huddlestone to take short cut to Brazil
Hull City 6 Fulham 0
STEVE BRUCE insists it is not his place to influence Roy Hodgson's World Cup plans, but after watching Tom Huddlestone mastermind Hull City's biggest ever Premier League win, he believes there are few players with a game as well suited to the expected heat in Brazil next summer.
Huddlestone, on his 27th birthday, scored one goal and played a key role in three others, as well as hitting the woodwork in each half with rigorously practised free-kicks as Fulham's mini-revival was ruthlessly crushed.
The former Tottenham midfielder has been Hull's outstanding player since Bruce persuaded his board to pay a club record fee of £5.25m for him last summer.
"It is not for me to tell Roy what to do, but it will be hot in Brazil and you will need people who can technically take care of the ball," Bruce said.
"We will have to play at a certain tempo because of the heat. There is always a surprise selection but it would not surprise me if Tom went because there are not many who are doing what he does as well as him."
Bruce said he had never seen a more accomplished performance, which, from a man who lined up in his Manchester United years alongside Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona, was a statement to raise eyebrows.
"I know that is quite a thing I am saying," Bruce said. "But he was brilliant. From his passing and his one-twos to tackling, shooting, hitting free-kicks from 40 yards -- he did the lot."
Huddlestone, who has four senior caps, missed the cut for England's 2010 World Cup squad after being named in Fabio Capello's 30-man preliminary selection. His only appearance for Hodgson was more than a year ago.
"It (the World Cup) is not in my thoughts," Huddlestone said.
"Roy Hodgson has said he's seen everybody who is in contention and that would be the icing on the cake, if we stayed up and I managed to get back in the England squad. But the priority is staying up."
Huddlestone's goal means he can finally have his hair cut after pledging more than a year ago not do so until he scored.
All six goals came in the second half, Hull going ahead through Ahmed Elmohamady and firing in three more in seven minutes. Huddlestone helped set up Robert Koren, then George Boyd beat David Stockdale with an angled shot, before Huddlestone netted from outside the box.
Matt Fryatt tucked away the rebound after Huddlestone's free-kick hit the bar before Koren hit his second. (© Daily Telegraph, London)