Danny Houghton won't change despite senior status at Hull FC
DANNY Houghton says he won't change his approach to the game despite acknowledging he has grown into a key player for Hull FC.
The former academy captain has been praised by his team-mates and coach in recent months, with Andy Lynch and Mark O'Meley just two to identify the hooker as a crucial Hull cog and a genuine leader.
It is a responsibility Houghton has become aware of, admitting the realisation of his new role in the side hit home during an injury-hit season for Hull.
"Last year, I got the feeling I was one of the leaders in the team. With Aaron Heremaia being injured, I had to take on more responsibility," Houghton told the Mail.
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"The more you play and the more experience you get, the more you feel confident being in that senior player role. I know my voice is regarded now in the dressing room, which is nice, but I just get my head down and get on with the job.
"I do realise I am one of the senior blokes now, but I won't go around shouting off because that's not my style. In training sessions I'm happy to say something, but I won't stand up for the sake of it. I'll get on with doing my job, like I always have."
Still only 24, Houghton has just completed his sixth season as a member of the Black and Whites' first-team squad.
Progressing from reserve hooker to the cusp of the senior England side in the last couple of years, he has elevated himself to become a pivotal part of the Hull side.
Asked to play 80 minutes each week last season, due to fellow hooker Heremaia's injury problems, Houghton's 27 games saw him hardly off the field in another impressive year.
Due to his England Knights commitments, he only called time on his 2012 season as his team-mates returned for pre-season training.
Now resting at home, while the majority of the Hull squad are being put through their paces, he's glad to finally get some time off.
"I was ready for a break and I'm happy to be off now," said Houghton.
"I've got a new baby and I've been training away in Leigh for the last few weeks with the Knights, so I was ready for some time at home and the chance to recharge my batteries.
"I started to feel it towards the end in the Knights games and it was taking a bit longer to recover, so I'm glad for the rest now."
Set to return for one week of training and testing in December before a Christmas break, Houghton says he has no concerns about playing catch up.
"I'll have a few weeks off and do nothing, then I'll do some training on my own before I go back in with the rest of the boys before Christmas," he explained
"I won't be in as good a shape as if I went back early, but I'm one of those type of players who will catch up after a couple of weeks back in pre-season."