In depth: Kyle Hudlin: the 6'9" non-league striker reportedly interesting Celtic
Yesterday, reports emerged linking Celtic with a Solihull Moors forward called Kyle Hudlin.
Big deal, you might think; Celtic are often linked with burgeoning talents from England. Recently, the Bhoys have signed Watford Academy talent Bosun Lawal, former Scunthorpe striker Joey Dawson [Celtic FC], and more.
So, it’s nothing new, right? But this guy might just be a little different.
Not only is 21-year-old Kyle Hudlin playing non-league football, but his story is atypical for a footballer. For one thing, he’s 6’9″, two inches taller than former England striker Peter Crouch.
But he’s not just a tall lad, he’s a bona fide baller at non-league level. After shining for the brilliantly-named Social Falcons and Boldmere Sports, Hudlin has made waves with Solihull Moors [SMFC].
In his first season, he won Young Player of the Season, jointly topped the scoring charts and scored the best goal that year.
Not only that, he’s a smart lad, too. A student at University College Birmingham, Hudlin is studying a range of sport-related subjects to help his development and understanding of the game. In an interview with UCB, he said [UCB]:
“Studying those subjects like psychology and coaching definitely helped me prepare more for games.
“My lecturer Nathan Price taught me techniques which have helped me relax – we went over pre-match habits like getting into routines and self-talk, which I do a lot in my games just to keep motivated and stay positive.”
Mixing Academia and football, Kyle Hudlin reportedly isn’t just on Celtic’s radar
With the physical advantages to stand out to scouts, it’s no wonder other big clubs have their eye on Hudlin.
Manchester City, according to The Athletic, are keen on the 21-year-old. Having video scouted him for some time, the Citizens were linked with bringing Hudlin to the Etihad as recently as last month.
So, it would seem that if Celtic are interested, they need to get their skates on for the towering centre-forward.
But to paint Hudlin’s story as some “nice touch for a big man” side-show would be grossly underestimating his talents. It’s what he does on the deck that’s most impressive.
Yes, video highlights don’t tell a full picture. But goals do. This clip shows his ability from range, and his unerringly cool low shots. Gifted technically, Hudlin has excellent control of the ball, and despite his physical tools is far more likely to drive a shot through a keeper’s legs or round him, aiming for placement over power.
Of course, with his physical profile, Hudlin can shrug defenders off with some ease. However, his first touch means he often doesn’t need to. Certainly, he’s a really interesting player.
If Celtic are indeed interested, as Football Insider insists, then scout Andy Thorne will surely be making his pitch to Postecoglou, McKay and co. This lad could be really special.
In other news: Celtic and Scotland fans wowed after Academy talent shines for U17s