He was once a “Cartilage-free Captain,” and now he’s apparently about to become a “Cartilage-free Coach.”
According to the Evening Standard, legendary Tottenham defender Ledley King is joining Jose Mourinho’s staff as a coach ahead of next season. There is room for King in the backroom as assistant and tactical analyst Ricardo Formosinho is leaving the club for a head coaching opportunity.
King hasn’t officially held a coaching role with Spurs in a few years, when he was a part-time coach with the U-18s, but he apparently impressed Mourinho this season as he helped out with some defensive work in training. It seems likely that King’s role will be focusing on the defensive side of the game, of which he obviously knows a great deal about.
Mourinho teased the hire on Friday morning when he said that Formosinho’s replacement would be “someone with a history with the club, connected with the club ... because I’m not really a fan of people moving with a lot of assistants and forgetting local talent and people from the house.”
King spent his entire playing career with Spurs, making his debut in 1999 after three years in the club’s youth system. He was a tremendous defender who made over 20 appearances for England, and likely would have been even better had he not had to deal with so many injuries. King famously would not even train for large parts of his career due to the lack of cartilage in his knee, but, incredibly, he still put forth heroic performances in games.
King retired in 2012 and had a testimonial at White Hart Lane in 2014. Since then, he has worked for the club as an ambassador and as a mentor-like figure for youth players. It seems likely that he’ll be taking players under his wing in this role as well.
All in all, this seems like a great idea from Mourinho. Things got better toward the very end of the year, but 2019/20 has been a season with some horrid defensive showings from Tottenham. Someone as experienced as King helping with defensive instruction surely can only help the club’s efforts at the back.
And it will be fun to see Ledley on the touchline every game starting next season.