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Tottenham legend Ledley King on the influence of his childhood in Bow

PUBLISHED: 17:22 28 August 2013 | UPDATED: 17:22 28 August 2013

Spurs football legend Ledley King.

Spurs football legend Ledley King.

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Tottenham Hotspur’s legendary former defender Ledley King says his childhood in east London helped pave the way for his extraordinary playing career.

The centre back called time on a distinguished career last summer after more than 250 appearances for Spurs – but he says he still keeps many of the same friends he spent time with as a schoolboy in Bow.

“Having good friends around me was vitally important,” recalls the centre back, who was plagued by chronic knee problems.

“That’s another blessing, because had I had the wrong kind of friends, who knows where I might have ended up? There wasn’t too much else around.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids that didn’t play football, and that’s when you have problems like the riots, because there’s nothing else out there for kids to do.”

Instead, Ledley graduated from his childhood team of Senrab FC into the Spurs youth set-up, establishing himself as one of the club’s most promising youngsters.

After breaking into the first team in 1999 he went on achieve legend status at the north London club. He also won 21 caps for England – despite the chronic knee injury which ultimately forced him to hang up his boots last year.

But he looks back fondly on his childhood in the East End.

“I’ve still got a big connection,” he says. “It played a big part in my life and paved the way for me, but there’s not too much there that was when I was young.”

For our full interview with Ledley King, see next week’s East London Advertiser – out on Wednesday September 4.

King: My Biography by Ledley King, Quercus, £18.99 is out now.

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