Spurs captain King retires

  • Last Updated: July 19 2012, 17:01 BST

Tottenham's Ledley King is disappointed to be calling time on his playing career but looking forward to a future with the north Londoners off the field.

Spurs captain King retires

The 31-year-old centre-back has spent his entire career at White Hart Lane and captained the side since 2005.

King, though, has long suffered from chronic knee problems, which limited his game and training time in recent years.

Rumours were abound this summer that such issues would force him to quit and that was confirmed by the defender on Wednesday.

"I have been here since I was a boy, I have always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team," King told the club's official website, www.tottenhamhotspur.com.

"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 up with the elite where it should be.

"I would like to say thank you to everyone at the club and to the fans.

"I have missed a lot of football over the years, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me during difficult periods.

"Sadly my injuries and inability to train have now finally brought an end to my career.

"I have been in Tottenham for around 17 years, having started at Spurs when I was 14.

"It is a second home for me and I am pleased that I can continue to work within the club and for the local community, especially after the devastation caused by the riots last year.

"I am already heavily involved with the work of Spurs Foundation and the new stadium scheme will be a major factor in the regeneration of the area, so I am delighted that I shall be part of that."

King became a major player for Spurs after coming through their youth ranks and making his first-team debut in 1998.

The London-born centre-back went onto make more than 250 appearances for the White Hart Lane club and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy hailed the defender, who he insists will play a part at the club in his new capacity.

"Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this club - as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador," Levy said.

"It has been well documented how he has battled against injury over the years and it is testament to the character of the man how he managed to sustain such high standards of performance on the pitch, while providing such fine leadership.

"It is in an ambassadorial capacity that Ledley will continue, playing a crucial role in supporting the club's work in the community and the ongoing regeneration of the Tottenham area, whilst also being a hugely positive role model for our younger players."

Tottenham also announced they will host a testimonial match in King's honour at the end of the season, with the opposition to be determined at a later date.

"It will undoubtedly be a special night at the Lane," Levy added.

"The chance for fans and team-mates to pay tribute to our longest serving, not to mention one of the most gifted players in the history of the club."