Kevin meets the King!
23 March 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
One is a club legend, former skipper and modern-day Spurs great and the other would love to follow in his footsteps - Ledley King has been impressed with Kevin Wimmer and was able to tell him face-to-face in this special feature.
The pair got together at White Hart Lane last week to support National Apprenticeship Week and to participants on the Pre-Apprenticeship Scheme, backed by StubHub.
And there was immediate mutual respect from the central defenders with Ledley, one-club legend, Wembley winner in 2008 and England international full of praise for Kevin, who has starred alongside Toby Alderweireld, taking his chance superbly in the Premier League's best defensive unit after stepping in for injured Jan Vertonghen in January.
Looking out over White Hart Lane, here's how the conversation went...
Ledley: "How did your career get started?"
Kevin: "The first five years were in my country, Austria, at a small club but I then had the opportunity to go to Linz, the third largest city in Austria and they had a very good youth Academy there (LASK) and I was there for three or four years before I signed my first professional contract. I played one season in Austria in the Second Division and after that year, I signed for FC Koln in Germany. In the first two years I played in the Second Division in Germany (Bundesliga 2) and in the second season, we won the title and got promotion to the Bundesliga. I played one season there and joined Spurs at the start of this season. It’s a dream to be here now."
Ledley: "So it’s been quite a jump in the last few years from Austria to Germany and then being promoted to the Bundesliga."
Kevin: "Yes, it’s true. From Austria to Germany to the Premier League. When I think back to four years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would be playing in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur. I always watched the games on TV and thought it would be amazing to play in the Premier League. Suddenly, I got the opportunity to sign for such a big club and for sure, it was a dream come true for me. But you know what I’m speaking about, you are a true legend here! All the Tottenham supporters know what you have done for the club. How old were you when you were made captain?"
Ledley: "I started playing here aged 14, I did my apprenticeship at 16, made my debut at 18 and was made captain at 23. I was captain seven or eight years until I retired. Having grown up in England, I’ve always known about the Premier League and my training was geared towards Premier League football. In the youth team, we played with high intensity, because that’s how our league is played. That must be a big difference for you, the intensity of the Premier League."
Kevin: "It’s true, you have to get used to this first, even the training sessions. I always thought in Germany that we had a hard pre-season but when we came here, it was much harder."
Ledley: "I heard that training was tough in Germany."
Kevin: "Yes, it’s tough, but you also have a winter break and time again for another pre-season. Here in England, there is no winter break and perhaps that’s why pre-season is so hard in the summer."
Ledley: "One of the biggest things is the level of the Premier League means there is no easy games and that’s something the foreign lads learn quite quickly. They might not be playing a team they’ve heard of before, it might be a promoted team, but these are all tough games."
Below: Kevin and Ledley meet participants of the club's Pre-Apprenticeship Scheme
Kevin: "That’s true, every game is tough, even at home. The ‘smaller’ teams can beat the big, big clubs and that’s what makes the Premier League so special."
Ledley: "Well, it’s been a pleasure to meet you Kevin. I’ve been really impressed with how you’ve settled in in your first season and hopefully you’ll keep it going until the end of the season, you and all the guys."
Kevin: "Thanks very much. It was a pleasure to speak to a living legend!"