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George: Ledley can be King

Posted on 17 December 2000  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

George Graham heaped praise on Ledley King then admitted: “He’ll get better.”

King, still just 20, has finally broken through for a sequence of games in the Premiership after injury hampered his progress last season.

He has starred in the last four matches and wrote his name into the record books with the fastest ever goal in the Premiership — just 10 seconds — at Bradford City last weekend.

Converted from a central defender to a midfielder by the manager, the England Under-21 star is now preparing for his first local derby when Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane on Monday.

Boss George said: “Ledley played against Derby last season and was outstanding but then picked up an injury that kept him out for the rest of the season.

“As far as I was concerned he had the ability to handle it and up to now he’s shown that. It is still early days but the boy has ability. He’s not been overawed by it all.

“In Ledley I saw someone who is very good on the ball, a very tall boy and they seem to be in vogue right now — Vieira at Arsenal, Desailly when he was at AC Milan, he has that presence, is good on the ball and gets around the field.

“He has a chance and if his attitude is right, he has the ability. He’ll get better.”

Ledley has been joined by Alton Thelwell, also 20, in the last four matches while Luke Young, 21, who is currently injured, Simon Davies, 21, Matthew Etherington, 19, and Gary Doherty, 20, have featured in first-team action this season.

Indeed, when we played at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, we had five home-grown players in the side — King, Thelwell, Stephen Carr, Stephen Clemence and Sol Campbell.

George added: “I’m sure the fans love to see these local boys coming through. The last few games we’ve played the fans have really got behind us and have been great.

“I don’t care what anyone says, although the fans love a star name, they love a group of kids coming through the youth policy who have a certain affection for the club.

“That is why Manchester United are arguably the best team in the country — half the team came through the youth policy. Leeds United are similar.

“I think the young boys Ledley and Alton have come in, done well and that’s lifted the club as a whole.”

Listen to George's pre-match press conference in full by clicking here