Boss Steve Bruce hailed birthday boy Tom Huddlestone’s “masterclass” in Hull City’s 6-0 Premier League win over Fulham.
The midfielder starred as the hosts completed their biggest Premier League win, with a second-half goal spree to see off their struggling visitors.
Huddlestone – who turned 27 on Saturday – hit the post with a free-kick in the first half before the flood gates opened early in the second period, with Ahmed Elmohamady breaking the deadlock after 49 minutes.
Hull were 4-0 up by the 68th minute as Robert Koren, George Boyd and Huddlestone all found the net, while Matty Fryatt added a fifth a few minutes later.
Koren added his second in the closing stages to set the seal on the emphatic win, but it was Huddlestone who earned special praise from the manager after he scored his first Premier League goal since April 2011.
“It has been a pleasure to work with him over the last three or four months and I don’t think I have seen an individual performance from him as good as that,” Bruce told Sky Sports.
“From start to finish he gave a masterclass of how to play in midfield. He scores a goal, hit a wondershot from 40 yards which we score on the rebound, but overall he has produced.
“Every week he is getting better and better because he is playing every week. He’s a wonderfully natural footballer.”
Man of the match Huddlestone celebrated his goal by chopping off a clump of hair having previously vowed to do do so once he ended his run of matches without scoring. And he is now looking forward to visiting his barber.
He said: “I’ve got a decent record against Fulham. Once the game was secure at 3-0 I was trying to push myself on a little bit and fortunately enough for my barber I managed to nick a goal!
“The celebration has been sorted since the end of last season at Spurs.
“It’s a chance to try different hairstyles again rather than leaving it as it is.”