Explained: Why is Tom Huddlestone playing (and scoring) for Manchester United Under-21s?

Tom Huddlestone is being talked after he scored for Manchester United. But not their first team. No, 37-year-old Huddlestone was on the scoresheet for Manchester United’s Under-21s in their latest Premier League 2 game.

They beat crosstown rivals Manchester City 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village, and the Red Devil’s U21 manager Travis Binnion’s has been benefitting from Huddlestone’s lasting experience on the pitch since 2022.

Many supporters are curious to see the 37-year-old still turning out for the Red Devils on a regular basis. So exactly why is he still playing and what is his role with the club?

explained: why is tom huddlestone playing (and scoring) for manchester united under-21s?

Huddlestone played 146 times for Hull City across two spells (Image credit: Getty Images)

After departing Championship outfit Hull City back in the summer of 2022, Huddlestone was at something of a footballing crossroads.

Having made just twelve appearances for the Tigers across the 21/22 campaign, four of those as a starter, the former Derby County man was offered the chance at a new role with Manchester United.

Much like Paul McShane had done in the past, Huddlestone was brought in as a player-coach to help aid the development of the Under-21s at Old Trafford.

Jay Spearing is currently taking up a similar role at rivals Liverpool, as he looks forward to the next stage of his career, whilst also continuing to turn out for his boyhood club.

explained: why is tom huddlestone playing (and scoring) for manchester united under-21s?

Huddlestone played for eight years at White Hart Lane, scoring eight goals (Image credit: Getty Images)

Boasting stars such as Charlie McNeill, Willy Kambwala and Shola Shoretire, the Red Devils academy needed an experienced head to help coach those currently progressing through the ranks and what better way to do that than on the pitch?

Having already featured seven times for the club at Under-21 level this season, the ex-Spurs midfielder is slowing down in his work rate on the pitch and has dreams of one day achieving a managerial job of his own.

“I think one that really clicked my coaching ideas into a process was Marco Silva,” said the former Wolves loanee back in 2022.

“I only had him for five or six months at Hull but I thought about the detail he went into around the training pitch, the analysis videos before and after every training session and definitely the matches. Maybe that coincided with my age at the time but I thought he sparked an excitement from a coach’s standpoint in me.”

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