Saturday 7 December 2019

Routledge backs Hudds for England

Tom Huddlestone, pictured, has been tipped to go to Brazil by former team-mate Wayne Routledge
Tom Huddlestone, pictured, has been tipped to go to Brazil by former team-mate Wayne Routledge

Wayne Routledge believes his former Tottenham team-mate Tom Huddlestone should be firmly in the mix for England World Cup selection.

Swansea playmaker Routledge, who is in a rich vein of form and has many admirers of his own, is set to line up against Hull star Huddlestone in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at the KC Stadium.

Huddlestone has not featured under England boss Roy Hodgson since he was selected in the squad for a friendly against Sweden 17 months ago, suggesting his hopes of making the flight for Brazil this summer are remote.

He had been part of Fabio Capello's preliminary 2010 England World Cup group, but then failed to make the final 23-man cut and was not called upon by Capello's successor Hodgson until November 2012.

"Tom is one of the most under-rated players in the league. I have never seen anyone do what he can do with both feet with a football," former England Under-21 international Routledge said.

"Jake (Livermore) complements him well, as Hudds has the vision and he can play the pass, and Jake does a lot of his work. It's a good pairing and they have done well.

"I am sure he (Huddlestone) was appreciated at Tottenham, but it gets to a time in everyone's career that you want to play games, and if you are not playing the games then why are you playing football?

"He made a decision to go to Hull. He has had a good season so far, and I am sure he will continue with it."

Asked if Huddlestone should go to the World Cup, Routledge added: "For me, yes, but I am not the manager of England.

"They pick their team how they pick it, but he has got the talent and ability to be around that squad. There is no question of that in my mind."

Former Crystal Palace, QPR and Newcastle midfielder Routledge's influence on the Swans, meanwhile, has been hailed by Garry Monk ahead of the trip to Hull amid suggestions that the 29-year-old should be in Hodgson's World Cup picture.

"Every single week, his effort has been massive. He has played near enough every minute of every game, and he has got himself a few goals," Swansea head coach Monk said.

"For me, and I have known him for a long time, it is probably one of his best periods in professional football. It is really good to see.

"He (Routledge) can only perform how he performs. They are all different players. There is no wrong or right player. At the end of the day, it's whatever the manager of that national team wants.

"I could say Wayne is better than him, or him, but if the manager is looking for a different type of player it's his opinion that counts.

"If he thinks (Adam) Lallana is better than Wayne, he has the right to choose that. I think Lallana is a very good player, to be honest with you. They are different types of players, but it depends on what you want from your team."

Swansea will tackle Hull with Monk singing the praises of one player who looks certain to be in Brazil - striker Wilfried Bony.

The Ivory Coast international has scored 20 goals in all competitions for Swansea this season, with Bony's performances during recent months afforded added credence given his responsibility for leading the line in fellow striker Michu's three-month injury absence.

And after making such an impression during his first full season of English football, Monk has conceded that Bony could become a target for other clubs.

"It may be that there is interest, but you could say that about players in every team," Monk added.

"We want him as part of our future. We want to build a team around him and players like him, and the good thing is that we are not a selling club.

"We want as many of our players to go to the World Cup as possible. I hope Wilf goes out there, does really well and then comes back here full of confidence."

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