He was lauded as one of the best English centre halves of his generation, and as the countdown to Ledley King’s testimonial begins, The Haringey Independent held a Q&A with the Spurs legend about his career and his views on England's chances this summer.
Who was the best player you played with at Tottenham?
I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some great players – Teddy Sheringham, Luka Modric. But I think Gareth Bale reached a level I’ve not seen in my time at Tottenham. He’s in the top two or three players in the world. I’d just left the team when he had his unbelievable season but just before that I could see he was on the way to becoming something special.
Who was the best player you played against?
Every week you’re playing against top players. When I was younger, players like Alan Shearer, Kevin Davies were tough players to play against. But for me Thierry Henry was the best Premiership striker I played against.
What are your top 3 career highlights?
1. Winning the Carling Cup in 2008 – It was a special moment for me, being the captain as well.
2. Qualifying for the Champions League for the first time and playing in the competition.
3. Beating Arsenal for the first time (with a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane on April 14, 2010, started by a Danny Rose wonder goal) – It took a while to get that first win but we got there in the end.
Who was your favourite manager you played under?
To be honest I’ve had a great relationship with all the managers I’ve played under. George Graham was my first manager - he was a very disciplined man and he instilled that in the players – he was great for a young boy to learn his trade under.
Glenn Hoddle – I enjoyed his style, it suited me. Martin Jol I had a good relationship with and of course Harry, who I’m thankful to for keeping my career going. To be able to keep playing even though I wasn't training, I was fortunate to have him at the time.
Who would be your pick for England’s starting defensive pair in Brazil this summer?
Cahill and Jagielka – on form, they are two good centre halves.
How do you rate England’s World Cup chances?
I think it will be tough. I don’t think the expectations are there and that should make it more comfortable for the players. The first game is important; both teams will want to get off to a good start. No-one wants to lose the first game, especially playing South American teams in the next two games. But if they can get a win or a draw it will give them confidence to get out of the group.