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Analysis: Ledley King on Dembele and Wanyama

Posted on 7 February 2017  - 15:00

Before becoming one of the best central defenders in the modern era, Ledley King had a spell in the defensive midfield role. So what does he make of our current dynamic duo Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama and what does it take to play in that key area? Our legendary former skipper explains all...

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Ledley on Mousa

"I’ve always been a big fan. I played against him when he was at Fulham and could see his talent straight away. He was playing a little more advanced then, more in the number 10 type of role and you see how strong he was, that dribbling ability. He’s deeper now and that suits him, he’s been fantastic. I don’t see anyone go past him or tackle him! He’s unbelievable in those areas, a big force in the middle of pitch."

Below: Mousa in action against Middlesbrough on Saturday

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Ledley on Victor

"In his first season here Victor has been one of our best players and already a fans’ favourite. He played under the manager at Southampton and Mauricio knew what he could do, knew his capabilities and knew what he was bringing to the Club. He’s been great. He’s so strong, wins the ball back, he can play and is a calming influence on the team as well. Between him, Mousa, Eric Dier as well, Harry Winks, they are doing a great job and that central midfield is very strong."

Below: Victor also pictured against Boro

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Ledley on the partnership

"As a team, that’s one of the big strengths, the sheer size of the team and big, strong, technical players. They are a big part of that through the middle. They are both top players. Mousa can probably push forward closer to the opposition’s box while Victor is used to sitting in there protecting. They complement each other so well because they can do a bit of everything. Our defensive record is outstanding and it’s easy to see why when you have two players like that in front of the back four or five, as well as having a top goalkeeper."

Below: Ledley takes on Ryan Giggs in 2003

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Ledley on the role

"Formations have changed since I was in there, at that time it was a single holding midfield player. You need to be a calming influence, know when to speed the game up and slow it down in possession. You need to read the game, that’s important. You don’t have to be a great tackler and I’ve played with players in that role who weren’t great tacklers but read the game so well and therefore positioned themselves well - Michael Carrick for one, Teemu Tainio was also very clever in there. You need to protect the back four and stop the supply into the strikers and that takes the pressure off the back four."