Huddlestone to miss three months with ankle injury

Midfielder added to Spurs' extensive sick-list, but club lifted by return of Defoe and Lennon

Tottenham Hotspur's England midfielder Tom Huddlestone is to undergo surgery on a troublesome ankle and will be out for up to 12 weeks.

The 23-year-old has been nursing the injury for a few weeks, and has been needing painkilling injections before games. However, he suffered further damage in last week's 1-1 draw with Sunderland and Tottenham's doctors have decided that surgery is the best option, to clean up the joint, and believe he will be sidelined for up to three months. He will have the operation later this week.

The injury is a serious blow for Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who is currently without defenders Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson. However, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon are close to returning and could be back to face Arsenal on Saturday.

Huddlestone's lay-off could not have come at a worst time for the midfielder, who had been enjoying the best form of his career and had been made captain in the absence of King. His blossoming partnership with Luka Modric in the centre of midfield was instrumental in Tottenham's glorious 3-1 victory two weeks ago over the reigning European champions Internazionale.

His performances earlier in the season had earned him an England recall last month for the squad to face Montenegro in the European Championship qualifiers. However, Huddlestone's ongoing ankle injury meant he was left out of the current England squad for tomorrow's friendly with France.

However, his season has not been without controversy as he has also been involved in two contentious incidents. Last week, he escaped a possible three-match ban after an apparent stamp on Bolton's Johan Elmander. And last month, Huddlestone avoided a Uefa charge after apparently elbowing FC Twente forward Marc Janko during Tottenham's 4-1 win in the Champions League in September.

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