The "new Sol Campbell", as Ledley King was lazily dubbed by the media, should have made a big impact on the game at the very top level, but a string of injuries hampered what should have been a glittering career.
A strapping lad, who unexpectedly made his first team debut at Liverpool in season 1998-99, coming on as a substitute in our League game at Anfield. Tall, good in the air and an excellent reader of the game, his thin frame was much like that of Campbell when he first broke through, but the England Under-21 international improved both physique and the experience that is necessary to play at the highest level.
In reserve games, King had the confidence to bring the ball out from the back and his distribution was very good. Already selected for the England Under-21 side, the full side called upon him as he progressed into the Tottenham first team.
Made his full debut at Derby County in the 1999-2000 season - as a defensive midfielder !! However, serious injury deprived Ledley the chance of carrying on his move to being a regular in the first team squad. Made a brief appearance at the end of that season against Man U as a sub.
Was unlucky to break his foot in the last minute of England's last game in the European Under-21 Championships in Slovakia in summer 2000, thus missing pre-season training for Spurs. He has recovered from that and won a place in the first team because of injuries. His calm influence and accurate passing show that he might be the player to step into the middle of defence or midfield.
In November 2000, he broke into the team on the back of injuries to others and did very well. Scored his first goal against Bradford City on 9.12.2000 within ten seconds of the kick off - a Premier League record for the fastest goal ever. Made a place in the side his and it was only a broken cheekbone at Sunderland in April 2001 that ended his season and he only returned to training in pre-season for 2001-2002.
Hampered by a broken foot in the European Under-21 championships, but recovered to play an integral part in Tottenham's 2001-02 campaign. Made some movement on the international front, making his debut in the full side as sub against Italy. Was at fault for the goal that condemned Tottenham to defeat in the Worthington Cup final, but had made enough good performances in the 2001-02 season to balance that out.
Ledley picked up a knee injury prior to the start of the following season and missed the first few games because of it. He came back and established himself back in the side, although appeared more tentative than previously, which might have had something to do with the injury and the poor patch the team were going through after Christmas 2002.
Another injury kept Ledley, who was now the club captain, out of the reckoning shortly before the start of the 2003-04 season kicked off and then four games in, he tore a hamstring, keeping him out for another two months. Up until that point, he had been playing without conviction and the rest and a change in management and tactics, seemed to benefit him when he returned to the side.
He did well under Santini, as there was a more defensive focus to the team, but his resignation saw Martin Jol take over and he played the game differently to the Frenchman. A more attacking style saw Spurs lose 4-5 in the first home game with King scoring and also involved in one of the goals conceded. However, he became a pillar of strength in the middle of defence and was joined in 2005 by Michael Dawson, who looked to be the player that King had been waiting to play alongside, as Spurs finished fifth in the Premier League (their highest finish at that time) to qualify for a UEFA Cup spot.
The 2006-07 season saw a lot of games and unfortunately a lot of goals conceded, which might have come as a consequence of King being injured on Boxing Day and not returning until mid-March. His injury was to his foot and hip and it seemed that these were recurrent injuries. The lack of a reliable partner in the middle of defence and the spate of injuries he has suffered in his career (which have meant that he rarely starts a season fully fit and raring to go) have perhaps held King back from being the major name in the game he should have been. Many times, bigger clubs have shown interest in his signing, but he has remained with Tottenham, where he wanted lead the club on to win things. In 2008 that happened when he lifted the League Cup after the 2007-2008 final at the new Wembley saw Spurs win 2-1 against Chelsea in extra time.
Under Ramos, King was used sparingly at the start of the 2008-09 season, featuring mainly in the UEFA Cup rather than the league, where Tottenham struggled, picking up only two points in eight game, which lead to Ramos' departure from the club. With new boss Harry Redknapp identifying King as a key player in Spurs' aim to secure Premier League football, he ensured the captain played as many league games as possible and his 24 starts played a major part in taking Spurs up to a final finishing position of eighth and only losing out on penalties in the League Cup final to Manchester United.
With a successful start to the 2009-10 season, Ledley was featuring once a week, but a groin injury against Birmingham stopped his appearances in his tracks. A similar problem stopped him playing only six games in the early part of the following season, but he managed to return for the last two matches of the season to put in very good performances to help Spurs to the two wins they needed to secure fifth place and European football once more.
As his importance to the team continued, Spurs invariably looked a better team when he was playing and won regularly when they had him in the side, but the concession of a last minute penalty at Manchester City in January 2012 perhaps hinted that his judgement was not what it was and as the season went on, it became painfully obvious that the pain that Ledley was playing through was taking it's toll. Pushed into action because of the injuries to other central defenders, King played for the cause, but the Norwich home game in particular saw him bullied by players he would previously have had in his pocket.
It was not a huge surprise that on the expiry of his contract in July 2012, Ledley announced his retirement from playing to take up an ambassadorial role with the club and hopefully he will have some coaching input in the future.
A player who those who have seen him will appreciate in a way that only one club players can be feted by their own supporters.