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Ledley King

Ledley Brenton King (born 12 October 1980) is an England association football who plays for Tottenham Hotspur F.C.. Ledley King is the longest serving player at the club and captained Spurs since 2005. Ledley King is currently contracted to Tottenham until 2012. In March 2009 an article in The Times named King as Tottenham's 25th best player of all time.

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Ledley King biography


Ledley Brenton King (born 12 October 1980) is an England association football who plays for Tottenham Hotspur F.C.. Ledley King is the longest serving player at the club and captained Spurs since 2005. Ledley King is currently contracted to Tottenham until 2012. In March 2009 an article in The Times named King as Tottenham's 25th best player of all time.

In recent seasons King has been plagued by chronic knee problems, for which no effective treatment or remedy has been found, which prevent Ledley King from playing more than one game a week. Instead of training with the rest of the squad King undertakes fitness exercises on Ledley King own. Ledley King manager Harry Redknapp has called King "an absolute freak" for being able to perform at Premiership level despite not training. King has also received praise from former team mate and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, saying that “Ledley King is like a magnet for the ball, a thoroughbred of a defender, the best centre-half in the country.”

Club career

Tottenham Hotspur

1997–2001

King joined Tottenham as a trainee in July 1997 and became a professional the following year. Ledley King debut came in May 1999 at Anfield ending in a 3–2 defeat to Liverpool F.C.. When breaking into the first team under former manager George Graham (footballer) Ledley King was often used as a midfielder. It was with a performance in central midfield during Tottenham's 2–1 win over Liverpool in November 2000 that Ledley King established himself as a regular in the Spurs side. Ledley King first goal for Tottenham was scored in December 2000 in a 3–3 draw away to Bradford City A.F.C. which was scored in 9.7 seconds, setting a new Premier League record for the quickest goal.

2001–2006

After Graham was sacked, King was moved back into defence under new manager Glenn Hoddle, and with the departure of Sol Campbell to rivals Arsenal F.C., there was a chance for King to establish himself as the club's top centre-back. Ledley King began the season with a clean sheet against Aston Villa F.C. and a performance man-marking Duncan Ferguson (footballer) as Spurs held on for a point against Everton F.C. at Goodison Park despite playing the final 25 minutes with 9 men. By the end of the season he'd been capped for England and was regarded as one of the best young defenders in the country as Tottenham finished 9th, their highest league finish in 6 years.

A hip injury sustained in the summer meant Ledley King did not start the campaign until November. However, King was criticised due to the large amount of goals Tottenham were conceding. The season ended with Tottenham letting in 9 goals in their final two games against Middlesbrough F.C. and Blackburn Rovers.

When Hoddle was sacked in September 2003, caretaker manager David Pleat moved King into midfield to offer a better defensive presence in the middle of the park. In February 2004, having not scored in over 3 years, King scored from the edge of the box in the FA Cup against Manchester City F.C., and followed that up by scoring against Charlton Athletic F.C. a week later, before scoring on Ledley King first start for England the following week. Despite playing out of position for most of the season, Ledley King had done enough to convince Sven-Göran Eriksson to call Ledley King up to England's Euro 2004 squad.

In the summer of 2004, the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. management team and squad was changed dramatically. Jacques Santini was appointed as manager and with defensive midfielders such as Michael Carrick, Pedro Mendes and Sean Davis (footballer) joining the club, King was able to move back into Ledley King preferred centre-back slot. Noureddine Naybet was signed to bring experience to the Tottenham defence and King formed a fine partnership with him. This new partnership, as well as the form of newly signed England goalkeeper Paul Robinson (goalkeeper) meant that compared with 57 and 62 in the previous two seasons, Tottenham conceded just 41 goals in the Premier League, the fewest amount of league goals Tottenham had conceded in a season since the 1970–1971 season (albeit some of the seasons played in that time were 42 game seasons instead of 38). King played the full 90 minutes in all 38 of Tottenham's league games and 9 of Tottenham's 10 cup games, the only game Ledley King missed all season was a 3–0 win away to Nottingham Forest F.C.. Spurs kept 13 clean sheets in the Premiership, King scored 3 goals that season, one in the North London derby against Arsenal F.C.. Ledley King was voted Premier League Player of the Month for September 2004, the first defensive based player to win the award in almost 3 years. In January 2005, after the sale of Jamie Redknapp to Southampton F.C., new manager Martin Jol appointed King as club Captain (association football).

In the summer of 2005, King captained Tottenham to win the Peace Cup, beating French champions Olympique Lyonnais in the final. King formed a new partnership with Michael Dawson (footballer). Spurs were even stronger in defence than the previous season, conceding only 38 league goals. King was helping at the other end of the pitch too, with goals against Charlton Athletic F.C., Portsmouth F.C., and once again in the derby against Arsenal F.C.. For much of the season, Spurs occupied fourth place and a possible Champions League place. However, in April Ledley King broke Ledley King metatarsal, meaning Ledley King missed the final four games of the season, in which Spurs took just 4 points, meaning they slipped down to 5th place on the final day of the season.

2006–present

After injuring Ledley King knee in training before the start of the season, King did not start Ledley King season until mid-September. Then after breaking Ledley King metatarsal again, Ledley King did not feature for Spurs from Boxing Day until the UEFA Cup quarter-final clash with Sevilla FC in mid-April. Spurs played 59 games in all competitions that season, but King featured in less than half of them. Tottenham only managed 3 clean sheets against top flight opposition without King in the side. In a Premier League clash with reigning champions Chelsea F.C. at White Hart Lane, Spurs went on to win the game 2–1, meaning King had captained Tottenham to their first league win over Chelsea since 1990, and the first at White Hart Lane since 1987.

King underwent surgery in the summer, meaning Ledley King would miss the start of the season. Manager Martin Jol had been sacked and replaced by Juande Ramos. But on Boxing Day 2007, King made a surprise return to the starting lineup against Fulham F.C., playing 73 minutes before being replaced by Adel Taarabt. Ledley King appeared sporadically for the rest of the season, but captained Tottenham to a 2–1 victory over Chelsea FC in the 2008 Football League Cup Final, the first major honour of Ledley King career.

On 3 April 2008 it was announced that Ledley King would be rested for the remainder of the season, Spurs having been knocked out of the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and unable to qualify for the Champions League through the League. King had featured in just 10 games all season, with just 4 Premiership games under Ledley King belt.

On 12 August 2008, Ledley picked up the trophy for the cleanest team in the Premier league for the season. Ledley King received the award at the 'Get on with the Game' programme which was shown on Sky Sports News.

It became clear at the start of the 2008/2009 season that King's injury problems meant that Ledley King could not play in every game. Ramos picked Ledley King in all 5 of the cup games Ledley King managed the club for that season, but only two of the eight league games. With Spurs rooted to the bottom of the league, having picked up just 2 points from those 8 games, Ramos was sacked and replaced by Harry Redknapp, who chose to prioritise the league and only play King in those games. On 26 October 2008, King made Ledley King 200th league appearance for Tottenham Hotspur as they defeated Bolton Wanderers F.C. 2–0. Ledley King captained the club in the 2009 Football League Cup Final yet again, this time against Manchester United F.C., keeping a clean sheet after 120 minutes of play, but Tottenham lost on penalties.

Harry Redknapp said of King's knee injury:

"There's no cure. There's no cartilage, nothing to operate on. It's just bone on bone. So it's just a question of managing it. It swells up after games and it normally takes seven days to recover but having played on Monday night he's had less time than usual. Ledley King rarely trains, Ledley King mostly just goes to the gym to keep himself ticking over. But not running or anything like that. But even if Ledley King only plays 20 games a season, he's worth having because he's so good we have a much better chance of winning."

King won Ledley King first game ever against Arsenal in the league on April 14, 2010, with a 2–1 win, which Ledley King played 90 minutes of. Exactly three weeks later, on May 5, 2010 King captained Tottenham to a 1–0 away victory at Manchester City, thus guaranteeing Tottenham's highest ever finish in the Premier League and securing entry into the qualification round of the UEFA Champions League for the first time. King had been a major doubt for the match having played against Bolton just 4 days earlier, however Ledley King performance in this game and many other games in early 2010 look to have secured Ledley King place in Fabio Capello's England squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. On May 16, 2010 it was reported that King had signed a new two-year contract extension with Spurs which will keep Ledley King at the club to 2012.

International career

King's England national football team debut came in a 1–2 loss to Italy in March 2002. Ledley King was called into the England national football team squad for the friendly against Portugal national football team on 18 February 2004, and netted Ledley King first goal on Ledley King third appearance.

King received Ledley King England national football team call-up for 2004 UEFA European Football Championship deputising for the injured John Terry in the opener against France national football team in Portugal. Ledley King also made a substitute appearance in midfield in the final group game against Croatia national football team.

After featuring regularly in the qualifiers, King looked a likely participant in the England national football team 2006 FIFA World Cup squad before fracturing a bone in Ledley King foot on 15 April 2006. Although not as bad as a similar injury affecting David Beckham, Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard, King's injury prevented Ledley King from being named in Sven-Göran Eriksson's squad. "Ledley King is injured and Ledley King can't train. If you talk about centre-halves we are very well covered, so taking another one half-injured when we have so many good ones it is not a good idea."

King played in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia national football team on 6 June 2007. King played 90 minutes and England won 3–0. Although Ledley King featured in Fabio Capello's first squad, Ledley King had to pull out through injury. Due to a chronic knee condition which preventing Ledley King holding down a regular place in the club side Ledley King was also not selected for England games for the rest of 2007 and during the whole of 2008.

On 22 March 2009, King was given a recall by head coach Fabio Capello to the England national football team team to play Slovakia national football team and Ukraine national football team.
Fabio Capello later said, in response to Harry Redknapp's objection to King's call-up, "Without doubt, King is one of the best central defenders in England. If Ledley King was fit, Redknapp would not need to make the journey. King could come with us." Ledley King later promoted King's cause again, saying that "We hope (he has an international future), because he's a very interesting player – one of the best centre-backs. But I don't know the future."

On May 11, 2010 King was named in the 30-man provisional squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside fellow Spurs central defender Michael Dawson (footballer). Ledley King went on to score a headed goal against Mexico national football team in the first preparation friendly on 24 May.

King made it into England's World Cup 2010 squad. On 12 June 2010, King played 45 minutes for England in their opening match against the USA, before picking up a groin injury which kept Ledley King out of the rest of the tournament.

International goals



Club playing honours

Tottenham Hotspur F.C
- Football League Cup:
- - Winner (1): 2008 Football League Cup Final

Individual

- Premier League Player Of The Month Premier League Player of the Month 2004–05

Club statistics

Correct as of 12 Dec 2011


2009 arrest

On 10 May 2009 at 2:30 am, King was arrested on Soho on suspicion of assault and causing actual bodily harm outside a London nightclub. Ledley King was subsequently bailed until mid-July while the police investigated the incident. King later issued an apology to Ledley King club, saying:


"I sincerely regret that a night out with friends went too far. I have apologised to Harry and I fully appreciate that, as a professional footballer, I have a duty to behave in a responsible manner," King said in a statement on the club's website. "I am assisting the police with their enquiries. Anyone who knows me, knows that much of what has been suggested is totally out of character. I am keen to resolve this as soon as possible and concentrate on my football."


This prompted Ledley King manager at Tottenham, Harry Redknapp, to promise a ban on alcohol for Tottenham players:


"I'll implement a strong rule next season that drinking is a no-no here. Footballers should not drink. You shouldn't put diesel in a Ferrari. I know it's hard but they are earning big money, they are role models to kids. We wouldn't get these problems if the players weren't drinking. There's still too much of a drinking culture in English football but it's not as bad as it used to be. At Tottenham we do a lot with kids, a lot of them underprivileged. We have to set an example. Too much drinking goes on in this country. Too many people are not happy unless they have had a drink."


Despite Ledley King arrest, Harry Redknapp later stated that King would start Tottenham's next league game.

Accolades



Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ledley_King

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