'Never gave me that answer' – Derby County midfielder makes Frank Lampard complaint
Tom Huddlestone started fewer than half of Derby County's Championship matches under the now Chelsea boss, but did not know how to boost his number of appearancesby Jordan Blackwell, Jamie Kemble
Derby County midfielder Tom Huddlestone claims former boss Frank Lampard didn't give him a reason for his lack of game-time last season.
The former Spurs and Hull player started fewer than half of Derby’s Championship fixtures last term, having started all but two games in his first campaign back at Pride Park in 2017-18.
The 33-year-old, who is in the final few months of his Derby contract, has revealed that he spoke to Lampard about what he needed to do to start every week, but said he was never given anything to work.
“Last year, we were more on the front foot, imposing ourselves on teams,” Huddlestone, speaking to the Counter Attack podcast, said of Lampard’s style of play.
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“The year before, when I first signed, we were more of a counter-attacking team.
“I just didn’t play as much as I would have liked. From the outset, my thoughts were that [the lack of game-time was because] we were fully pressing teams.
“But every time I spoke to the manager to see what I needed to do to get closer to the team, he never gave me that answer.
“But the lads that were playing well. We had a decent squad.”
Derby reached the play-off final last season, one step further than the previous campaign, when they finished sixth under Gary Rowett and were knocked out in the semi-finals by Fulham.
That year, Derby had a good enough squad for automatic promotion, Huddlestone believes.
“From when I first left Derby [in 2005] I did say I would love to come back,” said the 33-year-old, explaining his return to Pride Park.
“My four years at Hull were unbelievable. But Andy Robertson left, Harry Maguire left, Curtis Davies left, Sam Clucas was leaving.
“Once Derby had activated the release clause, I looked at the squad – that first season we should have been looking at automatic promotion, we had two good players for every position – that’s why I was looking at.
“There was no comparison [with Hull]. Derby’s squad was full of good established players.”
This season, injuries have limited Huddlestone to 12 appearances in all competitions.