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TOM'S PRIDE

Posted on 6 February 2007  - 12:00

Tom Huddlestone has plenty to look forward to when he steps back into England Under-21 action tonight.

Tom Huddlestone has plenty to look forward to when he steps back into England Under-21 action tonight.

For a start, the friendly against Spain marks his latest return to Pride Park and Derby County, the club for whom he played close to 100 games for before joining us in the summer of 2005.

He was last there in Under-21 action against Holland in February 2005, although he famously returned and scored against the Rams during his loan spell at Wolves in November last season.

Secondly, it's Stuart Pearce's first game in charge - the former Forest, Newcastle and England defender and now Manchester City manager took over from Peter Taylor as coach last week.

"It's always a special one for me to return to Pride Park and this will be a good test for us," said the midfielder.

"Spain represents the sort of friendly we need as we build up to the European Championships in the summer. The better the game, the better it will be for us.

"I think Stuart Pearce has done a great job at City, he has almost 80 (78) caps for England and knows what international football is all about. Hopefully he'll help some of us to progress from the Under-21s to the senior squad."

Back to matters Spurs, and Tom was naturally disappointed after Sunday's 4-0 home defeat against Manchester United. "The goals either side of half-time did the damage," he reflected. "If we'd have got to half-time at 0-0 it might have been different, because I think we'd created the better chances. After it went to 2-0 so early in the second half, it was always going to be a big problem for us."

Nevertheless, it was pointed out that playing against a midfield of Scholes, Carrick, Giggs and Ronaldo had to be positive for his personal learning curve. "It was a good game for me personally," he agreed. "In my opinion, Paul Scholes has been United's best player for the last 10 to 12 years and as a footballer, you want to be tested against the best."