‘I was a Premier League great despite never training – doctors told me to retire at 27’ | Football | Sport

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Former Tottenham star Ledley King has revealed that he was hardly training during the latter stages of his career to ensure that he was fit to play matches. The defender was forced to hang up his boots aged 31, though many did not predict the centre-back competing for long due to his recurring injury problems.

King is widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s best defenders in recent times, though injuries truly prevented the England international from reaching his potential. The Spurs legend struggled with knee problems throughout his career, with no treatment or surgery found which would have been able to resolve the matter.

The ex-Tottenham captain did not have any cartilage in his knee which meant that there was no operation which could have resolved the matter, meaning that King would suffer from severe pain during matches and then feel the consequences in the days which followed.

King’s knee would swell up to such an extent after games that it prompted Tottenham staff to suggest that he did not train so that he would be available for the next match. Speaking to FourFourTwo about the matter, the 41-year-old explained: “At 25, I started to miss the odd day’s training due to knee problems. At 26, I had a major operation and my knee never felt the same.

“From 26 to 31 was five years of not training: literally playing a match, my knee swelling up, me getting the swelling down all week in the gym’s swimming pool – sometimes doing light training the day before a match, but sometimes not even that – then playing the game at the weekend and around we go again.

“That was me for five years. Halfway through my last campaign [2011/12], I took a whack to the knee and really struggled. For the first time, I felt that I wasn’t helping the team. I sat down with my surgeon at the end of the season and we decided it was time. My knee’s OK now, but my hip’s knackered! It’s all part and parcel of it.”

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