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MARK OF ESTEEM

Posted on 19 December 2006  - 12:00

Ledley King admits that Mark Gower was a player he used to admire when the pair were trying to make a name for themselves in our Academy some 10 years ago.

Ledley King admits that Mark Gower was a player he used to admire when the pair were trying to make a name for themselves in our Academy some 10 years ago.Although a few years apart as they went through our youth set-up, our current club captain featured in the same youth team as Gower, who is now an integral part of Southend United, our Carling Cup quarter-final opponents on Wednesday night.

Their fortunes have differed somewhat since those days in the mid-90s, with Ledley going onto play for his country and over 200 times for us while Mark played just twice in our colours before moving to first Barnet and then Southend. But Ledley recalls a player who had bags of potential but suffered the misfortune of injury at a key time in his career.

“I remember Mark, he was about three years ahead of me and someone that Tottenham had real hopes for,” said our skipper. “He was a big prospect at a young age and a player I looked up to when I was a lad in the youth team. I played alongside him quite a few times and know him quite well, but he had a few injuries that hampered his career, which was a real shame for him.”

Another of the Southend team, Kevin Maher, was already a professional with us when Ledley was still in the Academy, although he never played a first team game for us. But our England international knows that both Gower and Maher will be keen to put on a performance at the Lane.

“Kevin was quite a bit older than me, but I remember him being here,” he reveals. “Both of them have done well at Southend, Kevin’s the captain now and they have been there quite a while.

“Obviously they will both be looking forward to the game, it’s a big match for them and for all of Southend and it will be very special for Mark and Kevin to come back to the club where it all began.”