Dear Tommy's ankle, stay in one piece. Kthanks.
Remember Tom Huddlestone? He was that mammoth midfielder who could seemingly pass as well as anyone in the Premier League and when he connected, could take someone's head off with a shot.
Well that midfielder didn't play from September on last season after suffering a terrible ankle injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season. And as Spurs surged towards the top of the league through the winter, many forgot about Big Tom. The team could clearly win matches without him, which is true, but things would sure be a lot easier with him.
This season, it looks like Tottenham might get Tom back, which is good because easier is always better, but it is important to focus on the "might". Nothing will ever be the same again for Tom.
"Last season was so frustrating," Huddlestone said. "I made four appearances at the start but then I picked up the ankle problem which persisted for months. It was particularly hard when I was two or three weeks away from returning and then I discovered I needed another operation that ruled me out for the season.
"That was a big setback but once I knew I would not play again, I could concentrate solely on getting ready for this pre-season. I've had no problems with the ankle since. It'll be something I'll always have, I just have to learn how to manage it. I'll have to take it day by day, but I don't think it will be a case of missing matches because the games are far enough apart."
And there is the downer. "It'll be something I'll always have." Tom has a chronic ankle problem and while it is great that he is on his way back and that he thinks he won't have to miss matches, chronic problems can always flare up.
That could be a major problem for Spurs this year if Luka Modric is sold. As fantastic as Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon can be in transition, it is the deep ball that springs their runs forward. Modric has often provided those balls, but he is likely gone and Tottenham don't have another midfielder who can consistently do it. Even Joao Moutinho, who is a fine midfielder and would do well if Spurs buy him, cannot hit that great ball to get Bale and Lennon going in the same way that those have become accustomed to watching.
As good as Modric is at springing the attack, Huddlestone is equally as good when he is at his best. He is not the same total player that Modric is, but in this one area he is and it might be the most important thing for Spurs. Assuming Modric leaves and there isn't a revelatory midfielder brought in to replace him, Tottenham might have to lean heavily on Huddlestone at times. That ankle has to be able to handle it. So far it has, but a couple weeks of preseason is very different from January in the Premier League. Fingers crossed.