Robert Huth: The Berlin Wall

leicester city defender robert huth

Player Profile: Robert Huth

Date of Birth: 18/08/1985
Height: 1.91 m
Position: Centre-back
National Team: Germany
International Caps: 19
International Goals: 2

Club Career

Football is filled with instances of players who seem set to play at the highest level for years to come but never quite do so. Robert Huth is one such case. Looking back, Huth had a solid career. With three Premier League winner’s medals, the record for the most Premier League appearances for a German and a number of caps for his country, Huth had a career that most players would kill for. But, given his early promise, you can’t help but feel he was destined for even bigger things.

As a youngster, the German defender looked like he would spend most of his career at a top European club. He was scouted by Chelsea as a teenager and made his debut as a 17-year-old, impressive for a central defender. At one point, he was even subject of an unsuccessful bid from Bayern Munich. Instead, his career took him to Middlesbrough and Stoke City, before late redemption with Leicester City.

Born in Berlin, Huth played for his local side VfB Fortuna Biesdorf, before joining the youth ranks at FC Union Berlin. His potential caught the eye of Chelsea scouts and the club eventually signed him in 2001. Huth did not take long to impress in London, debuting at 17 under manager Claudio Ranieri.

Chelsea thought highly enough of him to reject a bunch of loan moves and a prospective transfer to Bayern Munich. But Huth soon found opportunities hard to come by in London, especially with the arrival of Jose Mourinho. He found himself down in the pecking order, behind William Gallas, John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho.

After 42 league games with the club over five years, Huth finally decided to move on from Chelsea. A number of injuries had meant that his spell at the club had been stop-start. But he had his moments with Chelsea, leaving the club with two Premier League medals, from the title-winning seasons of 2004-05 and 2005-06.

His next destination was England’s north-east as he moved to Middlesbrough for £6 million. It was a tough start for Huth who was lacking in match fitness and still recovering from the injuries that had plagued him at Chelsea. Add to that, a recurring foot injury which meant Huth missed a good chunk of his debut year at the Riverside Stadium. But in the 12 league appearances that he did make that year, he was quite impressive for Gareth Southgate’s men.

In the summer of 2007, Huth underwent surgery to rid him of his injury woes, and that meant that his involvement the next season was again limited. He only played 13 league games, scoring once. A foot injury that he picked up towards the end of the season did not help matters.

The following season saw Huth play out the most complete season of his career to date as he appeared 24 times in the league. However, the season ended in tragedy with Middlesbrough getting relegated. Given his quality, Huth was never going to stay in the second tier for too long, and he duly made his return to the Premier League with Stoke City in 2009.

It was at Stoke that Huth finally began fulfilling his potential. After signing for £5 million, he eventually became one of the first names on the team sheet. In his first season, he managed to help guide Stoke to an 11th place finish and scored three goals in the process; one coming in his 100th Premier League appearance against Everton. Another special moment for Huth that season was when Stoke played his former club Chelsea in the quarter-final of the FA Cup and he was given the captain’s armband by manager Tony Pulis.

The 2010/11 season was arguably Huth’s best season for Stoke City as he once again stayed clear of injuries and became the enforcer at the back. He was a goal threat throughout the year, scoring a whopping nine times and guided Stoke to the FA Cup final, where they lost 1-0 to Manchester City thanks to a Yaya Toure goal.

His time at Stoke came to an end midway through the 2014/15 season as he joined Leicester City on loan and then permanently the season after. Huth managed to help Nigel Pearson fight off relegation, but under former manager Ranieri, it was a different story.

He formed a formidable partnership with fellow central defender Wes Morgan and keeper Kasper Schmeichel as Leicester boasted one of the meanest defences in the league. This assuredness at the back was one of the main reasons why they went on to win the Premier League in 2015-16. A decade after he took PL-winning medals for his bit-part role at Chelsea, Huth was right, left and centre of the Premier League campaign for the Foxes. His importance to Leicester that year can be gauged by the fact that he played 35 league games that season, missing only three.

That proved to be his high point at Leicester. The next season would prove to be Huth’s last as an active professional player. The Foxes finished 12th after Ranieri got the sack in February. The only bright point of the season was them managing to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League where they narrowly lost to Atletico Madrid.

The next year, Huth’s ankle injury flared up again and he was unable to make a single appearance for his club. He announced his retirement from the game in 2019, dismissing rumours that he was set to join Derby County.

International Career

Robert Huth made his debut for Germany in 2004, coming on as a substitute during a friendly against Austria. His style of play allowed him to be paired with Per Mertesacker for the 2005 Confederations Cup and his goal in the third-place play-off against Mexico helped Germany finish third in the competition.

He made the squad for the World Cup on home soil in 2006, but some poor performances in the pre-tournament games meant that he was not in his side’s starting eleven. Huth only started one game throughout the tournament – Germany’s final group game against Ecuador.

After the World Cup, Huth was not recalled to the national squad until 2008 and played his final game for his country in 2009 against the UAE in Dubai.

Where is Robert Huth now?

It has only been a year since Huth retired and he has already managed to return to football. He landed a role with the German FA as a defensive expert for the Germany under-21 team.

Did you know? Interesting facts about Robert Huth

– Huth was a ball boy during the 1997 German Cup final between Stuttgart and Energie Cottbus. The game was played at the Olympic Stadium which was close to where Huth lived in Berlin.

– For his initiation at Chelsea, he had to dance in his underwear with no music and be hit with flip flops by the first team.

– He is one of just ten players to win Premier League titles with two different clubs.