We'd be devastated to miss out on Champions League, says Tottenham captain
LEDLEY King admits that he and his Tottenham team-mates are fed up of watching the Champions League at home, and would be devastated to miss their golden opportunity to win a place in the group stages. Spurs take on Young Boys...
By Ben Pearce
LEDLEY King admits that he and his Tottenham team-mates are fed up of watching the Champions League at home, and would be "devastated" to miss their golden opportunity to win a place in the group stages.
Spurs take on Young Boys in Bern tonight in the away leg of their play-off tie. And, having been with the Lilywhites throughout his senior career, captain King is fully aware that Spurs' long-term dream of joining Europe's elite now hinges on 180 minutes of football.
"These are two massive games, there's no doubt about that, and we've got it in our favour the way we've got the second leg at home," he said. "We know that after all the hard work we put in, to fall at this stage, we'd be devastated. We don't really want to think that way, we've got to be positive, realise that we're a good team and go into the game thinking that.
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"Obviously the Champions League been a long time coming and we've been knocking on the door a few times but not made it. To finally step over that hurdle gave me a big satisfaction that the club's really moving in the right direction, and we've got players who can do big things here. As I've said before, I'm fed up of watching it now, I want to be involved."
Ironically, King will sit and watch tonight's match from home due to the potential impact of the home side's Astroturf pitch on his long-term knee injury.
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Manager Harry Redknapp said: "I have thought about the Astroturf and it could just kill Ledley completely, it could ruin his knee. The surface will be harder than grass and it would be a problem for him."
King has not travelled to Switzerland, but the England international believes that he can play a full part in all competitions this season, including midweek games if Spurs advance in Europe.
"The manager and I speak before every game. Last season I finished the season brilliantly, playing games in a short space of time and I'd like to think that I could do the same again," said King.
"I had a bit of a clean-out of my knee towards the end of last season and I came back probably in a better state, so that was the reason why I was able to play some games towards the end, and hopefully I can do that again this season.
"I was cramping up a bit towards the end of the game on Saturday but these things happen, so apart from that it's not too bad."
Having missed nine games of the last season after suffering an injury against Wigan, King played in five of Tottenham's last six games of the campaign, earning a spot in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad and, indeed, the starting line-up.
However, the Spurs skipper retired at half-time in England's opening group match against the USA and, despite declaring himself fit for the clash with Germany two weeks later, was overlooked for selection.
Despite his ordeals in South Africa, King is currently refusing to call time on his international career, and he insists that reports concerning his injury since the World Cup have been exaggerated.
"I've never had a problem since I've come back from the World Cup," he said. "I was fit for the last game of the World Cup and I've come back to training with no problems so I don't know what all that stuff's been about. I've been fine for the whole of pre-season.
"I'm not sure [about England] at the moment, first things first. I've come back here and I'll try to stay fit. If I can do that then I won't pull myself out but as I said, first things first. I've got to stay fit here and we'll take it from there.