Tottenham and England defender Ledley King has called time on his career at the age of just 31.
The centre-back has been dogged by injuries throughout his career and unfortunately they have now forced him to retire from the game.
King confirmed his decision by saying: “ I have missed a lot of football over the years, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me during difficult periods,”
“Sadly my injuries and inability to train have now finally brought an end to my career. I have been here since I was a boy. I have always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team”
King’s contract with Tottenham expired at the beginning of the month and he had a difficult decision to make. Tottenham hadn’t offered him a new playing contract and he could of moved elsewhere, but he has decided to retire and take on a new role behind the scenes at the club instead.
Without doubt Ledley King is one of the most talented centre-backs I have ever seen put on a England shirt. He was the Rolls Royce of central defenders. King had every attribute a top class defender needed.
Unfortunately, his dodgy knee betrayed him time and time again. His inability to stay fit and healthy prevented him from adding to his 21 England caps. Had he been fit the likes of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry wouldn’t have been so sure of their place in the starting 11 for England in the last decade.
At times King almost glided around the pitch. He made the game look so effortless, despite sometimes having to play through painkilling injections and sometimes just through pain. His troublesome knee just wouldn’t let him fulfil his potential.
The fact that Ledley King managed to get on the pitch at all in the last few years is remarkable. At times he couldn’t even train, yet still played despite the lack of training. Maybe this contributed to making his condition worse who knows, but he was desperate to play the game he loves.
By all accounts Ledley King was a true professional. The 31 year-old was a real one club man and that’s very rare these days in world where money talks louder than loyalty. He could have left Spurs and picked up a pay packet elsewhere, but he knew it was time to call it a day on his career.
King managed to play over 300 games for Tottenham, since making his debut in 1999 and was always a big character in the dressing room. A leader both on and off-the-pitch.
Unfortunately top players careers being hampered by injuries is a common story in the British game. I wrote an article about Michael Owen recently and his was a similar story of injuries preventing him reaching his full potential.
Jonathan Woodgate was another sad case of injury preventing a great career. If Woodgate and King would have been fully-fit throughout their careers, I’m sure England would have been far more successful on the international scene.
King may not have enjoyed any luck when it came to injuries in his career, but I hope he thrives in whatever he does next in the game and in life. King will now have a new role as club ambassador for Tottenham.
However, with the leadership skills he has shown on the pitch down the years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ledley King in a dugout in years to come. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see him return to the club he loves as manager one day.
Is Ledley King the best English defender of his generation?