Robert Huth is learning to become a sporting director after growing “sick of people telling me what to do” as a player.
The Stoke City favourite is studying for a degree that will help him build a career in one of the most influential roles at modern clubs.
Huth announced his retirement in January 2019 – having returned for a brief spell training with Stoke the previous summer – and had said that he’d become “fed up” with football, realising how “unimportant” it was.
But now he says his love for the game has returned.
“I didn’t know what to do with my life,” Huth told Talksport on why he took up the degree.
“Once I heard what it was, I gave Tony [Faulkner, co-founder of sporting directorship course leaders VSI] a call and said I wanted to be a part of it.
“I was always fascinated in what happened behind the scenes at football clubs and how it works. It’s great. As a player you only get to experience one part of the game, but I’m now ready to experience both sides.
“It’s hard work. When I came to England, I didn’t finish school, so I have no academic background whatsoever, so it’s quite humbling to now sit in a classroom to listen to different sporting directors who come to speak to us.
“It really opens your mind to what actually goes on behind the scenes. It’s strange because I always relied on my physical capability to get me through life but now that’s not important anymore. Now I have to use what’s between my ears to move on in life.
“It’s going to be hard work, but once I get this Masters, it’s going to set me apart when I apply for a job in a senior leadership role.”
Huth joined Stoke in 2009 and formed a superb partnership with Ryan Shawcross.
He left for Leicester initially on loan in 2015, playing a key role as they stayed up in the Premier League, then signed permanently as they were crowned champions the following season.
Explaining why he became jaded with football, Huth added: “I fell out with the discipline that was required of being an athlete. I was sick of people telling me what to do, how to do it, what to eat, when to sleep.
“I had a year out. You never fall out of love with football, you just lose a bit of love for it, but eventually it comes back. I’ve always been interested in how it all works.”
Huth enjoyed a long career in the Premier League – and ended up with two winner’s medals, one with Chelsea in 2005 and then the fairy tale across the Midlands.
“You get daily reminders, people coming up to you in the street and generally being happy for you, that they got to witness Leicester winning the league.” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing.
“Certainly when I left Berlin when I was 16, I didn’t think I’d be talking about winning the Premier League.”