Even seasoned professionals can be awestruck when working with football legends like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tom Huddlestone, the former England international who had stints with Tottenham and Hull City, made an unexpected move to Manchester United in 2022. Initially joining as an overage player in their academy, he eventually took on the role of a youth team coach.
Throughout Huddlestone’s career, he played alongside and against some of the top players in football. However, working with a Manchester United legend, who is currently involved with Lionel Messi at Inter Miami, still had the power to leave him in awe.
Huddlestone has told talkSPORT when asked if he has ever been starstruck: “There was a time, and he almost looks like a wax figure in a good way, when Beckham came and trained at Tottenham. I think I had been in a couple of England squads with him before but you’re still in the changing room thinking, ‘He doesn’t look real!’ You only see him on the telly generally but yeah, Becks is probably the only one.”
Tom Huddleston describe working with Beckham and Ronaldo as ‘looks like a wax figure’
Even though Tom Huddlestone might not have witnessed Cristiano Ronaldo as much during the Portuguese star’s second stint at Old Trafford, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner still left a positive impact on the future stars of Manchester United.
Huddlestone added on sharing training facilities with Ronaldo: “From my point of view, being a coach with the academy you never really got to see the first-team environment. The club is in the spotlight 24/7 regardless and I think you bring one of the greatest players ever into that environment and it heightened everything. To be fair to him, even at 36/37 years old he was still producing goals on the pitch. [The United youngsters] grew up with Ronaldo being one of the top two players in the world for 10/15 years. So for them, as I say, it elevated the club to a different level, the lads are buzzing, a lot of our players go up and train with the first-team regularly.
“Once they are in and around players such as that and they see the dedication it takes, whether that is little things like warm-ups and cooldowns, recovery, it is a good insight for them to realise what it takes, not only to get to the top but to stay there for a dozen years. I don’t think I actually saw him! We were in the same building but on opposite sides. I was too busy helping the youngsters develop.”