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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 14 August, 2020

Ledley King announces his retirement from football

The White Hart Lane legend will take up an ambassadorial role after hanging up his boots at age 31.

Image: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR DEFENDER Ledley King announced his retirement from football on Thursday, calling time on a playing career plagued by injury.

The 31-year-old will remain on at White Hart Lane in an ambassadorial capacity, club chairman Daniel Levy confirmed in a statement this morning.

A London native, King joined Spurs’ youth ranks as a 14-year-old in 1996 and spent his entire career at the club, a rarity in the modern professional era. He made his senior debut away to Liverpool at the tail end of the 1998/99 season and went on to make 313 senior appearances, scoring 15 goals.

As club captain, he led Spurs to Carling Cup victory over London rivals Chelsea in 2008 and was a key part of the squad which saw the club qualify for its first-ever Champions League campaign in 2009/2010.

His time on the pitch was cut short however by a chronic knee problem which forced him to sit out training sessions and prevented him from playing more than one game in a week.

“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,” King said. “Sadly my injuries and inability to train have now finally brought an end to my career.”

Despite his injuries, King’s no-nonsense performances when available made him a fan favourite and also earned him international honours. He won his first England cap in a World Cup warm-up under Sven Goran-Eriksson in 2002 and although he did not travel to Korea and Japan that summer, he was part of the squads for the 2004 European Championships and 2010 World Cup, winning 21 caps in total.

“Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this Club – as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador,” said Levy.

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.

On his new role at the club, King said: “I have been in Tottenham for around 17 years, having started at Spurs when I was 14. 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.”

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Niall Kelly

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