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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 16, 2008

King remains hopeful his knee troubles are over

Ledley King is confident his knee will allow him to play regularly this season and help Tottenham challenge for a top-four place in the Premier League.

The 27-year-old admits it took time to form a relationship with head coach Juande Ramos, given his lack of action last season, but he has retained the captaincy and is now looking to feel the benefit of using the last two months to recover fully from his injuries.

After spending half of that time rehabilitating in Barcelona, King feels he is ready for the rigours of two or three matches a week.

'I'm going into it quite confident it will happen,' he said. 'We're going to have to see but I don't see why I shouldn't be able to play in all the games. The proof will be in the pudding but hopefully I will be fine.

'You never know how it is going to react but hopefully, touch wood, I will be able to do that.'

King has suffered injury frustration for two years, with his original problem being the metatarsal complaint which ruled him out of England's 2006 World Cup campaign.

He underwent a knee operation that summer and another after the following season, with a by-product of surgery being inflammation to the joint as he recovered from games.

After suffering problems with both of his feet and also a slight hip complaint, there was a whispering campaign that King's body could not face football at the highest level - something the centre-back always denied and worked towards proving wrong.

Speaking at the launch of the Premier League's Get On With The Game campaign, he said: 'It's been tough. The toughest part of my career so far, definitely.

'Obviously there are rumours and everything, there were times that it did get on top of me. You have your friends and family and you need those people around you to keep you going.'

When Ramos replaced Martin Jol last October, the Spaniard had his club captained sidelined and unable to play regularly, meaning King had to win around the new head coach.

'The first impressions were probably not the best - managers like fit players and I wasn't fit at the time,' King said.

'Then he doesn't really know the history of everything that comes with it. I admit it took a while for him to understand the problems I had and how we had to deal with the situation at the time.

'He probably never had a player the way I played last season - playing a game then missing a game because the knee wasn't right.'

King played 10 times last season, including the Carling Cup final win over Chelsea and the famous semi-final thrashing of rivals Arsenal.

It meant there were doubts over Ramos giving him the captaincy, but the defender was eventually handed the armband.

'We are very happy with Ledley being the captain,' Ramos said. 'He had a serious injury which means we have to treat him differently to the rest of the squad and take it game by game to see how his knee responds.

'It's a long-term thing.'

After lifting Tottenham's first trophy in nine years, King is now targeting a place in the Champions League after the team came close in two of the previous three seasons.

Despite looking increasingly likely to lose striker Dimitar Berbatov, King said: 'I don't think we want to talk about it too much but within the group and in the changing room we definitely believe we have the players capable of achieving that.

'Deep down inside we'll be disappointed if we don't. As players and a club we realise it is the next step for us.

'We've got the talent to do it but it's a lot more difficult than just saying it and talking about it.

'There are 38 games and every one is tough, you have to be willing to grind out results when you're not playing so well and get results away from home.

'We've not been doing that and we'll have to do that if we want to break in the top four.

'In the months after the new manager came in, what we improved on was our performances against the top four teams and proving we can get results against them. Now we need to find a consistency.'

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