Tom Huddlestone admits he may need to leave Tottenham

Huddlestone has started just six Premier League games over the last two seasons

Tom Huddlestone admits his eight-year spell at Tottenham may have to end this summer if he does not start playing more first-team football.

Huddlestone enjoyed a rapid rise to stardom when he joined Spurs in 2005, quickly winning himself a first-team place - and comparisons with Glenn Hoddle - thanks to his superb passing ability.

The midfielder was instrumental in helping Tottenham qualify for the Champions League three seasons ago, but since then his progress has been severely hampered by an ankle injury.

Huddlestone has started just six Barclays Premier League games over the last two seasons and he has struggled to break in to Andre Villas-Boas' side, with most of his appearances this term coming from the substitutes' bench.

He came close to joining Stoke last summer and an injury to rival Sandro scuppered hopes of a transfer to Fulham in January, but the 26-year-old concedes he may have to look elsewhere if he does not get more game-time.

"I am 26 now. I missed a year to 18 months through injury," he said. "You just want to play every game and if that opportunity is not at Tottenham then I will have to look elsewhere."

There was an air of sadness in Huddlestone's voice as he talked about the possibility of leaving White Hart Lane, where he has developed a strong bond with the home fans thanks to a number of impressive displays and thumping strikes.

Having been included in the England squad that took on Sweden in November, however, he knows that with a run of first-team action he could come into Roy Hodgson's thinking for next summer's World Cup.

Huddlestone has come off the bench for Tottenham's last three games, but that may not be enough to make him stay at the club.

"I can't really judge it over the last five games or whatever," he said.

"You've got to see the bigger picture throughout the whole season and speak to the manager and see if I am in his plans or not.

"You speak to the manager every day and if you are not playing for a sustained period then you do wonder what's going on, but the manager has reassured me that I am in his plans even though time-wise on the pitch it hasn't always been shown that way.

"I'm not sure what happened (regarding Fulham). I just read about it and saw it on the TV."

Huddlestone showed signs that his form is returning as he came off the bench to play a big part in Tottenham's stunning 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.

The England international commanded a reshaped three-man midfield and sliced open the City back four to allow Gareth Bale to seal a vital win which gave Spurs' Champions League dreams a huge boost.

Huddlestone now hopes his disappointing spell on the fringes will come to an end.

He added: "It has been a frustrating few months. Scotty (Parker) has been back and fit. He has played a few games.

"Mousa (Dembele) has been excellent since he has come in so it's just a case of biding your time and, if you are given a slight opportunity towards the end of games like I was against City, you to have to try to prove to the manager that you should be in the starting XI."

An extended run in the team would also give Huddlestone a better chance of cutting the huge afro which has been growing at a rapid rate for over a year.

As part of a bet to raise money for charity, the midfielder has vowed to keep the scissors away from his hair until he scores his next Premier League goal.

"I could do with it being cut before the summer, but I would rather us finish in the top four than see the barbers," said Huddlestone, who has so far raised over £11,000 for Cancer Research.

"If I had known it would go on for this long I wouldn't have made the bet."

PA

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