King announced on Thursday he was quitting football at the age of 31, after years of battling injuries andwith no cartilage remaining in his left knee.
Calling time: Ledley King has retired
HAVE YOUR SAY. Could Ledley King have been the best defender of his generation?King, who has captained Tottenham since 2005 and has suffered from chronic knee problems in recent years, has announced his retirement.TELL US WHAT YOU THINKHe departs after 323 first-team appearances and 14 goals for Tottenham, the club he joined when he was 14 and with whom he won the Carling Cup in 2008.
He earned 21 England caps, scoring two goals, but the numbers don't do justice to King's enormous talent in central defence. His hampered movement and lack of speed began to be exposed in the second half of last season, but you can't help but wonder what he might have achieved if his body had been as strong as his impeccable reading of the game.
England man: King won 21 international caps and scored twice
Those silken performances, delivered in recent years after training only in the gym or pool, once prompted former manager Harry Redknapp to liken King to a Rolls-Royce. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy called King 'one of the most gifted players in the history of the club' and Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon urged the club to retire King's No 26 shirt. 'The best defender I've ever played with or against,' Lennon added on Twitter. 'He will be missed greatly. Legend.'
King told Tottenham's website: 'I have missed a lot of football over theyears, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me. Sadly my injuries and inability to train have now finally brought an end to my career.
Injury plagued: King career was blighted by injury
'Tottenham is a second home for me. I have been here since I was a boy, Ihave always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team.
'I know that being a one-club man is a rarity these days, but I have always enjoyed being part of the set-up here and the challenge of putting this club with the elite where it should be.'
King's loyalty and the club's allegiance to a defender who has played only 44 matches in the past two seasons means he will continue to represent Spurs as an ambassador. A testimonial match will also take place at the end of this season.