ON THE streets of Birmingham, a giant of the game walks among us.
At 6ft 9in, Solihull Moors striker Kyle Hudlin is the tallest outfield pro player in Britain.
And although the 20-year-old may have finally stopped growing, there’s no limit to how high his dreams are.
He said: “I am enjoying life at Solihull right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have aspirations in England and in the Champions League.
“I don’t want to run before I can walk and I understand how high the jump is to that level, but I want to make that jump.
“If all goes well I will be playing in the EFL soon, possibly even with Solihull next season.”
After banging in 25 goals in 22 games for Sunday league side Boldmere Falcons, he signed for Solihull United last March in the Midland League Division Two.
A hat-trick in just his second game caught the eye of neighbours Solihull Moors, who snapped him up in October on a two-year deal.
A maiden goal in the FA Cup second round against Morecambe – and two more since then – confirmed Hudlin has some hefty substance with his size.
“Everything that has happened so far, it is a dream,” he gushed. “Scoring in the FA Cup, as a kid they are things you have on your bucket list, and I have done that.
“I couldn’t have written a better script. Signing this contract was sent by God. It has been a blessing.”
A post shared by TM (@kyhudlin9)
A post shared by TM (@kyhudlin9)
A post shared by Solihull Moors Football Club (@solihullmoorsfootballclub)
'I WATCHED VIDEOS OF MESSI'
A blessing that was needed for Hudlin to ever realise his dream having endured a tough upbringing.
Early interest from academies such as West Brom was scuppered with both his parents working and unable to get him to and from training.
The alternative was men’s football in the local leagues aged just 16, while learning all about physicality by playing street football with his uncles.
But his immense height at such a young age came with disadvantages: “Coaches thought I had just one bow to my game. I got played as a centre back just because I was big.
“But growing up, I always had the ball at my feet, doing a skill. I haven’t trained as a big guy and I haven’t had that academy training.
“I have always been around the small technical players and you have to drop a skill in there.
“I would watch the likes of Ronaldinho, Robinho, Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo – his heading attributes is like he is a big guy.”
THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
Here are the players in the line-up (left to right)
6ft 4in – Olivier Giroud
6ft 7in – Peter Crouch
6ft 9in – Kyle Hudlin
6ft 3in – Harry Maguire
6ft 6in – Dan Burn
When he was finally trusted as a striker at 17, Hudlin’s inspirations matured, and admired the likes of Peter Crouch, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham.
“You will get furthest in this game by building your own identity though,” he argued.
“I want young players to be looking up to me and wanting to be like Kyle Hudlin.”
With no player in the UK coming close to his size – barring 6ft 9in Ipswich Town keeper Tomas Holy – they will have no choice but to look up to him, and that has its perks.
Hudlin laughed: “People are already put off by me as soon as I get off the bus. The mental battle is already won.
“I have the mental confidence when I get on the pitch that I am going to be better and bigger than them.”
Hudlin is not your stereotypical footballer in more ways than one.
He has balanced the start of his football career and the pandemic with a Sports and Fitness degree at University College Birmingham.
“I have got a different type of hunger compared to those academy product players,” he said.
“Everyone has fire in their belly to achieve their dreams but when you have come from where I have come from, playing at every step you can possibly imagine, it is different.
“I will never forget the reason why I started.”
Source: Read Full Article