Ledley is no risk, Fabio should take him to South Africa, insists Gary Pallister

24 March 2009 11:51
Gary Pallister believes that England should take Ledley King to South Africa - if Fabio Capello's side qualify for next year's tournament.

The Tottenham defender has chronic knee problems and can barely train between matches for Tottenham but former Manchester United and England centre half Pallister insists that King is worth the risk.

Pallister told the Evening Standard: 'John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are obviously first choice, but Ledley wouldhave been pushing them for a place the last two years if not for hisinjuries.

England expects: Ledley King (right) and Luke Young (left) hound Argentina's Juan Roman Riquelme for the ball during a friendly international

'He is a player who could provide great cover to those two. He isalso versatile, he can also play the holding role in midfield, and youwant players like that in a squad at a World Cup.

'If either John or Rio were injured or suspended for one game at a tournament, he certainly could come in and do a job.'

While England are blessed with international-class first choice central defenders in Terry and Ferdinand, only Matthew Upson has proved himself to be a reliable back-up and Tottenham fans would have a strong case to argue that King's abilities are superior to the West Ham man.

Getting Pally: Pallister (right) holds of Bolton's Nathan Blake during the 1997/98 season

Certainly Pallister is a strong advocate for King's talents and believes his presence in the squad is no gamble.

He said: 'I don't think it's a surprise, he is a top-quality player. We have seen it before with his performances for England and we know how highly Tottenham rate him as well. '

Pallister, who won 22 caps between 1988-96, is no stranger to seeing a player battle knee problems on a weekly basis to still star at the highest level.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson signed him from Middlesbrough in 1989 to replace the seemingly ailing Paul McGrath - who was suffering from recurrent knee problems.

Like McGrath, who went on to show his worth for several seasons at Aston Villa and was crowned PFA Player of the Year in 1993, King's problems are so severe he is unable to train normally and works out in the Spurs' swimming pool and gym instead.

But Pallister added: 'Paul did his own thing for a number of years at United and Aston Villa and it still worked out. He spent all his time exercising on the bikes to keep his fitness up and I was amazed at the level he could play at.

'Ledley obviously also has his knee problem, which he is going to have to manage for the rest of his career, but his performances are still of a high standard and Capello obviously feels he is going to be a plus for the squad.'

 EXCLUSIVE: England are wrong to pick my King, says Tottenham boss RedknappKing of England for a week: Sportsmail imagines Ledley's international dutiesKing surprised as Fabio calls on Tottenham defender for England double-headerSpurs regime pushes crock King to the brink of despair in bid to salvage his careerTOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB


Source: Daily_Mail