Sporting Spotlight: Ledley King
- 20 March 2013
- From the section Student reports
This week's Sporting Spotlight has been handed over to BBC School Reporters, on the eve of the seventh annual News Day, for an interview with Ledley King.
From lifting trophies to Gangnam Style - the retired Tottenham and England defender also reveals the first team he supported, why he would never have left Spurs if the chance had come up and recalls setting the Premier League record that he still holds today.
The 32-year-old joined Tottenham as a teenager after being part of the successful boys' team Senrab, which produced the likes of John Terry, Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora. He is now an ambassador for the club.
Who inspired you to be a footballer?
It was just something I loved doing. I was very small when I started, just kicking anything around the house, a pair of socks, anything. Then I went outside and started playing - I just loved playing football.
I remember watching England in the World Cup in 1990 and seeing people like Paul Gascoigne, who was a great player, and I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Did your family support your decision to be a footballer?
Yes, everyone was 100% behind me when they realised how much I enjoyed it and as long as I continued to do my schoolwork and do well at school I was allowed to follow my dreams.
What team did you support before you joined Tottenham?
When I was very young, my first team was Millwall because my best friend supported them. That was before I even knew anything about football - I just followed the team he did.
But after that I supported Tottenham and I've been at the club since I was 15 - I was supporting them before I joined as a trainee.
Do you play a musical instrument?
When I was at school I did - I used to play the cello. Most of the class had violins - I think they gave me the cello because I was quite tall!
Did you have a chance to change teams during your career and if so which team would you have joined?
I wouldn't have joined any other team - I was always happy at Tottenham. I was captain at a young age and I wanted to make the team better and try to win things, so I never thought about leaving.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I'd probably be able to fly! Especially living in London with the traffic, it would be good to get from place to place - you'd never be late!
What was so special about Senrab FC that it produced so many professional players like you, John Terry and Jermain Defoe?
We all grew up in a similar area. A lot of kids enjoyed playing football on the street, we were picked up and we just all ended up at the same club, luckily enough.
A bit of it might have been down to luck and timing. I know the club's still going and they're still trying to reproduce that.
You scored the fastest goal in Premier League history against Bradford City - what do you remember about that?
I remember it well. It was a long, long time ago. I was playing in midfield, we literally took the kick-off and played it back to a defender who put it deep into their corner. Their defender headed it out, I picked up the loose ball and shot and it was in the back of the net after 10 seconds.
It took a big deflection, though - without the help of the deflection it wouldn't have gone in, so I was thankful for that!
What's your favourite movie?
One of my favourites is Scarface - it's a classic.
How did you become an ambassador for Tottenham and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I was fortunate enough that the club asked me to be an ambassador. I meet plenty of great people like yourselves and do a lot of work in the community.
I've always had a great relationship with everyone at the club, and the fans, so I'm trying to give back some time off the pitch now and show people what a great club Tottenham is. I feel like part of the furniture here!
What's your favourite animal?
I like dogs. I've got a little dog at the moment - he's a pug.
Harry Redknapp said you were an "absolute freak" for being able to play each week without training - how did you feel about him saying that?
He called me a freak?! I think he meant it in a nice way! It's nice when your manager has got faith in you and he's happy with what you can do on the pitch for him.
I was lucky to have a manager at the time who allowed me not to train but still be able to go out there and play, so I was happy with that.
Could you give any advice to youngsters on how to be prepared for any sporting activities?
When you're young you have to enjoy what you're doing - I think that's important. And if you enjoy it and you work hard, hopefully that will stand you in good stead for when you play.
Keep learning and keep improving - that's all you can do. It's like anything - if you practise and work hard you know you've done everything you can possibly do.
What was your favourite subject at school?
It was probably PE - not surprisingly!
And your favourite book?
I liked reading Roald Dahl books - the BFG, The Twits…
What's your favourite colour?
Who was your best team-mate?
I got on with all of my team-mates. Robbie Keane was someone I played with for a long time, so him and Jermain Defoe, who's also been at the club a long time, are my best ones.
What's your favourite song?
Probably Gangnam Style - very catchy!
And your favourite band?
I don't tend to listen to bands too much. The Beatles were a good band - some of their music was good. I know One Direction are doing really well at the moment - I'm sure a few of you like them? No?!
What did you like and dislike about being a footballer?
I loved being a footballer, there was not too much to dislike. Maybe the injuries, but that's part and parcel. I loved playing in front of 36,000 fans, I enjoyed every moment of it.
When you were younger did you go to football matches?
When I was here as a youngster we used to come and watch the first team play and then clean the changing rooms after they'd left! They'd leave a big mess but it was an education for us, helping us to become footballers and to respect things.
What was the best match you ever played for Tottenham?
My most enjoyable one was winning the Carling Cup. As a kid you want to win things and you dream of playing at Wembley and lifting the cup, so to finally be able to do that was a dream come true for me.