Ledley King of Tottenham Hotspur: Nearly the Greatest Defender of His Generation

Ieuan BeynonCorrespondent IIIJuly 19, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  Ledley King of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the pre-season friendly match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fiorentina at White Hart Lane on August 7, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur defender Ledley King has today announced his retirement from professional football.

He will remain with Spurs in the role of an ambassador, also helping out with some coaching duties.

King was a one-man club and made his debut for Tottenham back in 1999. He went on to make only 264 appearances in 13 years at the club, where his time was dogged by injury.

He was the club captain at White Hart Lane and was Spurs’ most dependable player when he was fit, which sadly wasn’t often enough.

He was also capped by England 21 one times. This would have been much higher if he had been able to train on a daily basis; his debilitating injury, though, prevented this.

King was brought through with a clutch of top-class defenders including the likes of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

If injury had steered clear of King, I have no doubt that he would have been the best central defender of his generation by some considerable distance.

Although Terry and Ferdinand are considered world-class players, and in some respects rightly so, King had the ability to outshine both of them.

It is such a shame that he represented his country in only 21 occasions, where in all honesty he was England-captain material for his ability alone.

He could have been the best defender of his generation; instead, he will be remembered as a "nearly" man of English football.

Like the other supremely talented defender of his generation, Jonathan Woodgate, we never got to see the full potential of Ledley King.