Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has played down his rift with the Football Association over Ledley King's call up to the England squad, saying he would be happy for the defender to play at the 2010 World Cup.
Redknapp was reportedly upset that King was called up ahead of matches againstSlovakia and Ukraine, with the Spurs club captain managing a chronic knee injurythat has blighted his career.
Spurs felt there should have been more dialogue before the squad announcement, particularly as international breaks are built into his rehabilitation programme, with the two weeks off seen as an important part of his recovery.
King's subsequent withdrawal from the squad was vindication of Redknapp's view that he should never have been there in the first place, but the Spurs boss insists he would welcome the player's inclusion in future England squads if it does not impact on his club commitments.
'Ledley King should play for England and should be at the World Cup," Redknapp said in The Sun. 'It wasn't me who sent him home on the first day of training when the squad met on Tuesday.
'That decision was taken by the England medical staff, after taking one look at his knee and finally realising the full situation.
'I'm relieved they have seen sense and accepted what the doctors, medics and myself here at Tottenham have been saying all along.'
He added: 'I would love to see him play for England. I would love to see him playing for England at the World Cup finals. No one deserves it more than him and no one would like to see it more than me.
'If England want him in the summer, great. If England get to the World Cup finals in 2010 and play in June, one game every week, fantastic. I will even drive Ledley to South Africa myself.'
King has learned to manage his injury and has almost doubled his Barclays Premier League appearances this season compared to the last campaign.
'I had the Spurs physios on the phone to me on Sunday night, panicking, when he was picked for the squad," Redknapp continued.
'They know Ledley simply cannot play two games in a week. It is touch and go whether he can play every Saturday. They are dedicated to nursing Ledley along. And, as a result, this season we hope to get more than 30 games out of him.
'Last season he played four. So I guess we must be doing something right at Tottenham.'Redknapp insisted that Spurs' cautious treatment of King's injury is in the best interests of the player.
'Ledley is a constant risk. That's how it is,' he said. 'He could overdo it with England and then with Spurs, and in eight months' time be on the scrapheap, and who would remember him then?'I am trying to do what's best for him. I don't want him to retire from international football, Ledley doesn't. We both want him to play for England."