Ledley’s trip to Monaco as part of the club’s travelling party for our recent Europa League fixture certainly had the great man thinking back to his days on the continent - with his first experience now 16 years ago!
“I remember very early in my career a first involvement in Europe and travelling out to Kaiserslautern in Germany in 1999, way back!” he smiled.
“Then we had to wait a few years to get back into Europe (UEFA Cup in 2006-07) and it was great to get back in. I remember playing Besiktas (October, 2006) in the first season back, a vivid memory. The atmosphere was amazing.
“It all built up to eventually qualifying for the Champions League and that was one of the highlights of my time at the club.
“I heard the Champions League music enough on TV. I speak for every player when I say you want that experience for yourself.
Below: Forgotten how good Ledley was? Allow a couple of former team-mates to remind you...
“We had the players capable of playing at that level so I felt it was a matter of time before we got there and those dreams came true, playing at the highest level against top opposition in the likes of Inter and AC Milan and Real Madrid.
“Not only that, we showed we were more than capable of playing at that level.
“The Europa League is a very difficult tournament to win. You really have to stay the course and it’s difficult with the competitiveness of the Premier League.
Below: Ledley in Champions League action against Werder Bremen - 2010
“The teams in the tournament are of a very good level and perhaps back in England, we might not know too much about them, like Qarabag for instance, but they are often highly technical.
“That can be the surprise factor if you aren’t ready. You have to switch on and be ready for difficult games, especially away.”