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26

Ledley King

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Position: Defender

Born: 10 December 1980 (London, England)

Ledley King

1999-2012
Appearances: 323. Goals: 14.

League Cup winner, 2008.

Academy graduate, captain, legend, one-Club man – the King.

One of the greatest-ever defenders to pull on the famous white jersey, Ledley led us for seven years with composure, tenacity and heart. He knew what it meant to play for Spurs. It's his Club, his one and only Club.

Coming through the ranks of our youth system, the centre-back’s talent shone. His ability to read the game was remarkable at such a young age, his focus intense, developing his understanding and instinctive positioning and timing.

It’s been said many times, but barring injuries, Ledley may well have been one of England’s all-time great defenders. But in the end, a persistent knee problem forced him to retire in 2012 at the age of just 31.

Nevertheless, he enjoyed some memorable times, not least lifting the League Cup at Wembley in 2008 and playing his part in our famous 1-0 win at City in May, 2010 to clinch Champions League football for the first time for the 2010/11 season.

Ledley was handed his debut at Liverpool in May, 1999, but only a handful of opportunities arrived over the next two years. Indeed, it wasn’t until the final day of  the 1999/2000 season that he was given the chance to make his bow in front of the Spurs faithful at the Lane.

Sunderland were visiting that day and, armed with Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips and 6ft 4in strike partner Niall Quinn, they were in the hunt for a European place. That did not faze a then 20-year-old Ledley, however, as he demonstrated maturity beyond his years - we ran out 3-1 winners.

It took only took four more appearances for us to see his first goal in a Spurs shirt – a strike which, until recently, was the fastest goal ever scored in the Premier League’s history, with just 9.82 seconds on the clock at Bradford City.

Now a regular, the arrival of Martin Jol in 2004 saw Ledley begin to reach the peak of his potential. Partnered by Noureddine Naybet and then Michael Dawson, we started to build the foundations of a team that would move up the table and begin to challenge for the Champions League places.

Ledley was named captain in 2005 - a role he proudly held until his retirement - and lifted a trophy with Robbie Keane at Wembley after our League Cup triumph of 2008. After leading us into the Champions League, he was selected for England’s World Cup squad in 2010, but injury struck in South Africa and were beginning to take their toll. He made only nine appearances in 2010/11 and after struggling towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign, decided to call it a day.

Still hugely popular and adored by fans - Ledley’s name rings out on 26 minutes of every game, marking his shirt number - Ledley has continued his life-long association with Spurs in his role of Club Ambassador.

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