Long live the King of White Hart Lane
Ledley King has announced his retirement from football after his long-term battle with an injury finally got the better of him.
During his brief spell in charge at Tottenham, Juande Ramos once compared the scenario that surrounds Ledley King, to “having a Rolls Royce in the Garage,” a circumstance that Spurs fans and managers alike have had to get used to over the years.
King suffers with a chronic knee injury that has seriously limited the number of appearances he has made for both club and country. It is the result of a condition in which a lack of cartilage in the joint leaves the bones to rub together causing pain and swelling.
For this reason he could rarely train, instead preparing for matches in the gym and the swimming pool. Playing regular sequences of matches was also an issue because of extended recovery times, meaning that he could never play more than once a week.
Despite the injuries, King has been arguably the most influential figure in the Tottenham squad over the past decade and selection as captain when fit always remained inevitable with the required performance undoubted.
Making his debut against Liverpool in 1999, in the centre of midfield under George Graham, King went on to make 323 first team appearances for the club he joined at the age of 14. It would not be long before he moved back into his preferred role of centre half, though he would occasionally show throughout his career, including on the international stage, that he never lost the ability to play in midfield.
So often regarded as one of the finest defenders of his generation, King represented his country on 21 occasions, a number that had it not been for injury, would surely have been higher.
Ledley King possessed as much class on the ball as he did in his defending. Pace, power, quality in the air with excellent reading of the game, the retirement of Tottenham’s elegant skipper will be a loss to the English game.
King will now take up an ambassadorial role at Tottenham and remain with the club he spent his whole career at.
Arash Kowkabzadeh, football correspondent