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Composure is key - Ledley on the derby

Posted on 26 September 2014  - 19:10

Ledley King knows a thing or two about North London derbies - and our legendary former skipper insists composure is key.

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We make the short trip down Seven Sisters Road for the first derby of the season at the Emirates in the Premier League on Saturday.

Ledley played 321 times for between 1999-2012 and proudly wore the armband in many derbies - his eyes certainly light up at the mention of the fixture as the big one approaches again.

"It’s the first game you look for on the fixture list when the fixtures come out," he said. "When are we playing Arsenal? It’s the game that stands out more than any other game in terms of atmosphere and the build-up throughout the week.

"You’re picking up papers and reading things about what other players have said, you feel the fans are revving up towards it and on the day driving into the stadium it feels different to any other game. It’s a special game.

"My first derby was special because the atmosphere that day (November, 2001) was incredible.

"Obviously that was the game Sol was coming back for but playing for the other side – I’ll never forget the atmosphere from that game.

"When I finally got around to beating them in the league it was a long time coming – it was Danny Rose’s goal (April, 2010). That was a special night at the Lane.

"I’ll never forget those games, the wins and the losses.

"Mauricio will know that this is a huge game for the club and I think the players will learn a lot from it. The ones whose first derby it is will learn a lot about what this game is all about and that will be great for them going forward.

"The lads need to keep their composure. I know how easy it is to get built up for the game and I’ve played in games which have been crazy in terms of players getting caught up in the heat of the game rather than defending properly.

"I’ve seen 5-4, 4-4 - it’s an emotional game and you can get dragged into the emotion of it - you have to keep a cool head.

"The team that has the most players who keep a cool head will be the team that has the better chance of winning the game."

Below: Ledley opens a new cancer centre at North Middlesex Hospital...