Carrick: Ledley was King
Michael Carrick has paid tribute to former team-mate Ledley King ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Tottenham, after the Spurs legend retired from professional football in July.
King, 31, had struggled with injuries for a number of years and was unable to train on a daily basis, forcing the England international to reluctantly hang up his boots and adopt an ambassadorial role at White Hart Lane.
Having worked alongside King throughout his two years at Tottenham before signing for United in 2006, Carrick is all too aware of the defender’s quality when at the peak of his powers and was understandably disappointed to see his friend walk away from the game at such an early age.
“I was sad to see Ledley King call it a day in the summer,” Michael told ManUtd.com.
“It’s such a shame because he was a huge talent and one of the best around on his day. He was influential in the dressing room, too.”
The Reds midfielder also compared one-club man King to current colleagues Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, whilst bemoaning the fact his former team-mate cannot emulate their remarkable lengths of service.
“Ledley’s a bit like the home-grown lads at United and the boys who have been here for a long time,” added Carrick.
“He carries the traditions of the club in many ways. It’s sad that he’s had to hang up his boots early because I think he deserved to carry on for a lot longer. I know he had a lot more to offer.”
Even when King was in their ranks, Tottenham were unable to beat United at Old Trafford. But while the Reds have won 17 of the 20 Premier League meetings in Manchester, Carrick isn’t taking a win for granted this time.
“As players we won’t be going into the game thinking that history will take care of the result,” he told United Review.
“It’s going to be a difficult match because Tottenham have some very dangerous players and can really hurt teams. Jermain Defoe has started really well this season and has already scored a few goals.
“They’re also very dangerous in wide areas. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon have plenty of pace and they can threaten at any time, but particularly on the counter-attack.”