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Jul 19, 2012

Spurs' King announces retirement

Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King has announced his retirement from football after 17 years at White Hart Lane.

King, 31, had suffered severe knee problems in recent years and, with his Tottenham contract up this summer, has decided to end his playing career. He will now take up an ambassadorial role with the North London club.

The former England international came through the youth ranks at Spurs and made his debut for the first team in 1998. He played 23 times last season but revealed in June that he was considering retirement.

The one-club man said he had no interest in moving elsewhere in an attempt to prolong his career, adding: "Tottenham has been the only club for me - and if I can't play here then I shall look to be involved in another capacity."

King's Spurs career saw him lift the Carling Cup after victory over Chelsea in 2008 and lead the team to Champions League qualification in the 2009-10 season.

He won the first of his 21 England caps against Italy in 2002, and his international career saw him play in Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup.

In a statement on the official Spurs website, King said: "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.

"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. 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."

King said he was delighted to be taking on the ambassadorial role, adding: "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."

The Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, paid tribute to King on the official site, saying: "Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this club as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador.

"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 have announced that they will host a testimonial match in King's honour at the end of the season.

"It will undoubtedly be a special night at the Lane - the chance for fans and team-mates to pay tribute to one of the most gifted players in the history of the club,'' Levy said.

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