Leds impressed with young Spurs
Ledley King was delighted to see five of our players selected for England Under-21s this week.
Steven Caulker was initially named with team-mates Tom Carroll, Danny Rose, Adam Smith and Andros Townsend in the U21 squad for friendlies against Romania at Wycombe on Thursday night and Austria at Brighton on Monday.
However, Steven was called up by Roy Hodgson for senior duty and World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro following Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal on Monday.
Ledley took the same path from Academy graduate to professional and, as we all know, went on to captain the team in a 15-year professional career at Spurs. He also progressed from England youth to Under-21 to senior cap and represented England at the European Championships and World Cup.
He's following closely the progress of this current batch of youngsters.
"To have the five players initially selected shows the great work the club is doing and the coaches in bringing the lads through," said Ledley, now a Club Ambassador. "Steven Caulker then joined the senior squad and that will be a fantastic experience for him in two World Cup qualifiers.
"These are five very talented lads all looking to make a path for the future.
"It shows they’ve been playing well and this is where is starts, play for the Under-21s and continue building.
"We’ve got some really talented lads here and they are showing their quality, showing they can play in the Premier League and it’s great some have gone out on loan to prove themselves. It’s up to them now to come back here and try to nail down a spot in the future."
All five players will aim to be named in Stuart Pearce's squad for June's European Under-21 Championship Finals in Israel.
Ledley played in that tournament himself, starring as an 18-year-old in 2000 alongside the likes of Frank Lampard, Danny Mills and Jamie Carragher.
England beat Turkey 6-0 - Ledley was on target, pictured celebrating with Carl Cort, above - but went out in the group stage of a tournament won by Italy - with a certain Andrea Pirlo the star of the show.
"It was a massive step for me at the time," said Ledley. "You learn a lot about yourself, a lot about other teams, about different styles and it really stands you in good stead for the future."