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Leds on the Owen factor

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Ledley King remembers full well the sprint he embarked on with Michael Owen at Anfield in September that led to the England striker missing the vital World Cup qualifier against Greece.

Of course, there was no contact between the pair, but Owen ended up in a heap and his hamstring woes were splashed all over the back pages the following day.

In full working order now, Owen is on the threshold of the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea and is likely to be England's main goal threat.

First Owen must visit White Hart Lane on title business and Ledley, battling to be back in the first team frame after an Achilles injury, says he does not want to be near or by should he pick up another injury so close to the summer jamboree.

"Last time yeah, I didn't touch him, but he did pull up with an injury," recalled Leds.

"I don't want to have anything to do with it if it happens again!" he laughed, perhaps bearing in mind the furore over David Beckham's injury. "If he keeps away from me I'll be happy with that."

Ledley acknowledges that there are great fears over the well-being of England's key players as the clock ticks ever nearer to World Cup kick-off time. He insists, however, that there is no holding back when there is serious domestic business that still needs attending to.

"Definitely, but there's nothing you can do - he's still fighting to win the league for Liverpool and other teams are doing the same. You've just got to carry on playing and try not to think about it."

The 21-year-old says that Owen poses real difficulties for defenders with his lightening pace and finishing ability.

"I played against Liverpool last season in midfield, I played away this season in defence and he came on as sub. Straight away he caused problems with his pace, he looks so fast at the moment so it is going to be tough.

"He's so sharp and is such a handful. He's so small as well so it's hard to get with him when you're a big man. He is a great player who will always give defenders problems."