Player Profile 5: Prem de le Creme, Paul Huntington
By Alex O'Loughlin
November 17 2010
Glover Lover this week profiles vice captain Paul Huntington, following his drop down the leagues to find ultimate success.
Huntington began his career at Newcastle United after joining the Magpies youth team in 2004 aged 16. Impressive displays in the youth sides and England Under-18's earned the centre half a promotion to the Newcastle reserve side in 2004.
The increased competition and better opposition didn't faze the defender who continued to progress, something which was eventually rewarded with a professional contract in July 2005.
Huntington soon found himself in the thick of things, immediately finding himself on the bench for the Magpies Intertoto Cup games against Deportivo La Coruna and ZTS Dubnik. 2005 became a good year for Huntington, who then found himself in the FA Cup Round Three squad to face Mansfield as well as winning the Jackie Milburn trophy, awarded to the rising star of the North-East.
His debut came in December of 2005, coming on as a substitute to take up the position of right-back, a some what unfamiliar position for the defender.
Just seven days later Huntington found himself making his first start for Newcastle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. After receiving praise the previous week from Alan Shearer, Huntington then earned the man-of-the-match award for an impressive display again at right-back.
A string of starts then followed, before the 6 ft. 3 inch frame of Huntington bagged his first Premier League goal against Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-2 win back in 2007.
The end of the 2007 season saw Huntington leave the Magpies, and travel the relatively short distance to Leeds United. The transfer was met by great excitement from the Leeds United fans, who looked forward to seeing the Premier League qualities Paul clearly possessed.
Soon he was an established first choice centre-back, and featured in the clubs play-off final loss at Wembley to Doncaster Rovers.
The pre-season tour leading up to the 2008-09 season saw Huntington claim the captain's armband, before groin and hernia injuries blighted his season.
His long absence saw a change in management at Elland Road, with Simon Grayson taking over from Gary McAllister.
That proved to be the end of his Leeds career with the defender falling out of favour with new manager Grayson, who shipped Huntington out on-loan to Stockport County in September 2009.
February 10th 2010 saw Huntington have the remainder of his Leeds contract terminated in order for the defender to seek further first team opportunities, with Paul joining Stockport County on a short-term contract until the end of the season.
At the end of the season Stockport were relegated and Huntington again found himself looking for a club. Step forward Yeovil Town who signed Huntington on a two-year contract on the 16th of July 2010.
His impact has been significant at Huish Park since arriving, putting in a number of man of the match performances so far this season. Due to injury to regular captain Craig Alcock, Huntington has found himself captaining the side for the majority of the season, something which he has taken in his stride.
What Gary McAllister promised to be a "bright future" may have been slightly side-tracked, but his quality and commitment is unwavering meaning the defender is likely to climb the leagues once more.pqs: qs: