Tottenham Hotspur legend Ledley King feels the fans play a vital role in helping youngsters come through the academy to the first team as he interacted with the Kerala Blasters reserve team in London. In the recently concluded Next Generation Cup, 2022 in the UK, the Blasters faced Tottenham and Crystal Palace Academy teams.
King, a rare one-club man, spent his entire career at Tottenham, including his youth football days. After hanging up his boots, he was also Jose Mourinho’s assistant coach. “They welcomed me. What the fans really like is a young player coming through. They support him and go after him and for me, they did that. I wanted to play for the team. “I felt really comfortable and I was lucky to have that support throughout my career,” said King on the importance of supporters in the life of an academy player who aspires to become a fan favorite one day.
Kerala Blasters, a widely supported club in the Indian Super League, had their reserve team competing in the Next Generation Cup in the UK, which is part of the Premier League’s partnership with Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL). .
“The youth development is huge. I was able to play my whole career at Tottenham myself. Look at someone like Harry Kane, who is now the best striker in the world. He started at the club at a very young age. I always say That it is important to have such players because they are an extension of the fans.
“They understand what it’s like to be a fan because they’re around them all the time, whether it’s family members or friends who are supporters. When new people come to a football club, they’re what they need. “For us, it’s about telling them Arsenal is a game we need to win (laughs),” added King.
King joined the Tottenham academy at the age of 14 and made his debut for the senior team at the age of 18. The former England international has had an injury-plagued career but in his advice to young Indian footballers, he cites the power of fan support to push them through adversity. Times
“There is not a single game where the fans are not on my side. Players go through their ups and downs. I faced a lot of problems due to injury problems but the fans were the ones who always lifted me up and till I was motivated to play as much as I could. I’ve always had a good relationship with the fans. It’s always important that local academy players belong to a football club and I’m lucky to be one.
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The 41-year-old was hopeful of getting exposure for the Indian player and possibly playing for the Premier League side in the future. “I hope so. There’s no reason not to. It’s all about staying in the game. It only takes one person to break barriers and show people what can be done. India has the talent. And hopefully we’ll see one day soon,” King concluded.
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