King - Europe's best defender

Ledley King was a rarity in football these days a one club man. Players like King, Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs at Manchester United hold a special place among their own faithful that few other players can touch.

King - Europe's best defender


He was described by an arch rival as Europe's best defender and tonight Spurs fans pay tribute to the best defender of his generation, period.

"I know that being a one-club man is a rarity these days, but I have always enjoyed being part of the set-up here and the challenge of putting this club up with the elite where it should be."

Each generation has their heros often formulated during their teenage years but Ledley King was pure class and is rightly reveered by fans of all ages. Loyalty is a word few in football understand, money is all they care about so someone of the ilk of our number 26 stands out in today's game.

His doctor described him as "superhuman" and a player that "defied science". He had no cartilage in his left knee and there is no logic to how he was able to play for so many years after he was told his career was over 4 years before he retired!

King retired at the end of the 2011/12 season saying:

"Sadly my injuries and inability to train have finally brought an end to my career. I'm pleased that I can continue to work within the club.

"I have been in Tottenham for around 17 years, having started at Spurs when I was 14, it is like a second home to me. I have always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team.

"I would like to say thank you to everyone at the club and to the fans. 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." 
"It is a second home for me and I pleased that I can continue to work within the club and for the local community, especially after the devastation caused by the riots last year.

"I am already heavily involved with the work of Spurs Foundation and the new stadium scheme will be a major factor in the regeneration of the area, so I am delighted that I shall be part of that."

Recent quotes from Ledley show how much he is enjoying the role, travelling the world and working within the community. Having worked in a community based role myself I know where he is coming from, it is rewarding, a different type of reward than playing obviously.

To poick out a moment that would sum up Ledley King would be difficult but everyone was amazed at the challenge on Arjen Robben against Chelsea in 2009. The Chelsea winger had a 10 yard running start and King still got back to tackle him before he could get a shot away, truly memorable. 



Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy described King as "one of the most gifted players in the history of the club".

"Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this club - as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador.

"It has been well documented how he has battled against injury over the years and it is testament to the character of the man how he managed to sustain such high standards of performance on the pitch, while providing such fine leadership.

"It is in an ambassadorial capacity that Ledley will continue, playing a crucial role in supporting the club's work in the community and the ongoing regeneration of the Tottenham area, whilst also being a hugely positive role model for our younger players.

"It will undoubtedly be a special night at the Lane, the chance for fans and teammates to pay tribute to our longest-serving, not to mention one of the most gifted players in the history of the club."


"It is testament to the character of the man how he managed to sustain such high standards of performance on the pitch, while providing such fine leadership."


Former England teammate Rio Fedinand wished him well on his retirement in a tweet.

"Sorry to see Ledley King retiring from football, top player. Hope he passes on some of his football skills/knowledge to the next generation."

Tom Huddlestone also tweeted:

"Sad to hear The King has had to retire, amazing player,who made the game look very easy to play! Will be missed on and off the pitch."

When your bitter rivals star player talks about you as one of the greatest and not just for a polite pre-game press conference, then that demonstrates the true quality King possessed.

Thierry Henry referred to Ledley King as 'Europe's best defender' and the best defender he faced, adding:

"I don't like defenders who hold the shirts of other players. The only defender here who doesn't do that and sometimes still gets the ball off my feet easily is Ledley King.

"He is the only guy who doesn't hold players. He will get the ball off you without you even noticing. For me, that is a good defender.

"He plays without any contact yet is somehow still strong and gets the ball without doing any fouls."


Ledley appreciated his rivals kind words.

"For him to say that meant a lot. I always said that he was the best I ever played against.

"Tottenham and Arsenal were levels apart around that time, his team were competing for the title and we were a mid-table side. He was always a really nice guy, which I didn’t want! You wanted to leave a bit on him but he was such a nice guy you didn’t go in as hard as you might have."

Can you imagine a defender today who could only receive 8 Premier League yellow cards with a tackle success rate of 79% ahead of the likes of John Terry. It is no exaggeration to say that on his day he would have walked into any Premier League team in the country. That is a phrase often overused but one that could genuinely be applied to Ledley King.

His pace, his vision, his superb eye for a tackle and his calmness in the most difficult of situations meant he could even improve players around him. Indeed his sheer presence improved players. Tottenham now have to search for a replacement, they still haven't found one 2 years on.

Jamie Redknapp described him as the best in the country.

"He is like a magnet for the ball, a thoroughbred of a defender and  the best centre-half in the country."

The Former England managerFabio Capello would loved to have been able to pick him more often for his country.

"Without doubt, King is one of the best central defenders in England."
Dutchman Martin Jol, a former Spurs boss also felt he was the better than anyone, anywhere.

"He is the best central  defender I have ever seen."
 Harry Redknapp once famously described him as an absolute freak given he didn't train but just turned up to produce top class performances.

Former teammate Michael Carrick spoke to the Man Utd TV channel ahead the game against us in September 2012.

“I was sad to see Ledley King call it a day in the summer.

“It's such a shame because he was a huge talent and one of the best around on his day. He was influential in the dressing room, too.
“Ledley's a bit like the home-grown lads at United and the boys who have been here for a long time.

"He carries the traditions of the club in many ways. It's sad that he's had to hang up his boots early because I think he deserved to carry on for a lot longer. I know he had a lot more to offer.”

Others like, former striker Gary Lineker, midfield favourite Rafael van der Vaart, striker Darren Bent, winger Aaron Lennon, centre-back Sebastien Bassong, winger Wayne Routledge and even celebrity Arsenal fan Piers Morgan took to tweeting upon the announcement King was to retire.

I see Ledley King has announced his retirement from football. A truly wonderful player and credit to his sport. Wish him well. #spurslegend - Gary Lineker

Sorry to hear Ledley King has to retire from Spurs due to an injury. A great player and a true Spurs club man! - Rafael van der Vaart

Sad to see Ledley King has been forced to retire. A truly great player, working with him has made me a better player. Wish him all the best! - Darren Bent

“Ledley King is retired what a sad news!he will always be a spurs legend and amazing defender! #KING” - Sebastien Bassong

“Gutted the #KING has had to retire, the best defender I've ever played with or against, will be missed greatly!!! Legend #retiretheshirt26” - Aaron Lennon

“Ledley King retiring... Absolute pleasure to work with and the best defender I have ever worked with! #Salute” - Wayne Routledge

Best compliment I can pay Ledley King is that I'm bloody glad he's retiring - Piers Morgan

The season is over with little to celebrate but celebrate the career of one of our true greats we should.

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