Football: King backs Big Sam to make a difference

From top: Former England and Tottenham defender Ledley King at a function at the Ramada Singapore hotel yesterday. He endorsed the Three Lions' new boss Sam Allardyce as "a forward-thinking manager". King autographing an old Spurs jersey for Singapor
Former England and Tottenham defender Ledley King at a function at the Ramada Singapore hotel yesterday. He endorsed the Three Lions' new boss Sam Allardyce as "a forward-thinking manager". PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
From top: Former England and Tottenham defender Ledley King at a function at the Ramada Singapore hotel yesterday. He endorsed the Three Lions' new boss Sam Allardyce as "a forward-thinking manager". King autographing an old Spurs jersey for Singapor
King autographing an old Spurs jersey for Singapore fans of the English Premier League football club.PHOTO COURTESY OF SAM LIM

His teams are tough to face and he always got the best out of his players, says ex-Spurs man

Despite what the detractors say, former England and Tottenham Hotspur defender Ledley King has backed Sam Allardyce as the right man to lead England forward as their new manager.

The former Bolton Wanderers, West Ham and Newcastle manager Allardyce has often been criticised for his long-ball tactics and his lack of a major title. But King believes the 61-year-old popularly known as "Big Sam" is an apt choice.

King, who spent his entire career playing 321 competitive matches for Spurs from 1999 to 2012, said: "I don't have any problems with him (Allardyce) leading England.

"He's a forward-thinking manager and he's always trying to see what can make a difference (to a squad) - whether it's through sports science or his attention to preparation."

While the manager is not known for refinement, he is an expert in targeting opponents' weaknesses and exploiting that with direct tactics.

  • England, Germany legends set for clash

  • Former England and Germany players will go head-to-head in Battle Of Europe 2016 - England Masters v Germany Masters at the National Stadium on Nov 12.

    In the event organised by Masters Football Asia, former English Premier League stars Teddy Sheringham, Steve McManaman and Darren Anderton will turn out for England while the German team is headlined by 1990 World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthaus.

    Tickets start from $19. Family packages (two adults & two children below the age of 12) and VIP packages are available at $100 and $200 respectively. They can be bought at www.mastersfootball.com and www.sportshubtix.com

King, a former Spurs captain who is now an ambassador for the club, explained: "His teams are always difficult to play against and break down. They're always very physical and he always knew how to get the best out of his players despite their lack of technical experience on or off the ball.

"The England job is a tough task but he's a very good manager with Premier League experience, so why not Sam Allardyce? Hopefully, he will be a success and do well for the country."

King was speaking to The Straits Times on the sidelines of the Singapore Spurs Supporters' Club's 15th anniversary dinner at the Ramada Singapore hotel yesterday.

"I simply enjoy meeting the fans," the 35-year-old said, visibly pleased to be in the company of 120 smartly-attired Spurs fans at the formal dinner.

"From the moment I arrived here (yesterday), the local fan club has been great to me. Sitting down and chatting with the fans is always a pleasure. The fan base here is just incredible."

He also took time to reflect on his international career, saying: "One of my disappointments is not really having had the opportunity to establish myself in the team.

"Honestly, I feel like I've done well whenever I played for England. But more often than not, being picked for the next game always depended on whether someone else was fitter.

"That was always tough to take as a player and other than that, injuries also hampered my career."

The centre-back made only 21 appearances for his country and faced stiff competition from contemporaries John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell and Jamie Carragher.

But King may get another chance to wear the Three Lions on his chest in November's Battle Of Europe match between England Masters and Germany Masters, a friendly at the National Stadium organised by Masters Football Asia.

He said: "Any time you play for your country, it's a moment of pride and it's always such a huge honour to represent England."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2016, with the headline 'King backs Big Sam to make a difference'. Print Edition | Subscribe