On Saturday Ledley King made his long awaited comeback from injury and it looked like he had never been away, it was truly a joy to see him back. Finally the best English centre half in the country is fit and ready to help Spurs salvage their thus far miserable season.
It's also great news for the new England manager Fabio Capello who can now choose, without the usual English blinkers on, the best English players in their positions for the national team and Ledley King should, if he can stay fit, be one of the first names on the team sheet. The King is the perfect centre half. He is quick, great in the air, composed with the ball at his feet and one of the best tacklers of the ball I have ever seen. He may not have the gun-ho approach that the English tabloids love to see but that kind of defender is now outdated on the world stage.
So let's compare him to the other top rated English centre halves.
Firstly Rio Ferdinand, in truth Ferdinand and King are very similar, they both have bags of pace and are very comfortable on the ball. Where King is better however is in his tackling ability and powers of recovery. He also has a lot more brain cells to call upon than Rio and is a much more likeable figure due to his calm and dignified persona.
The current England captain John Terry is one of those defenders who are fast becoming obsolete in the modern game. His rough and tumble style of defending is something that may work in the predominantly long ball nature of the English Premier League but is constantly found out in the more technical style of football played on the continent and indeed by most national sides. Ledley King has more of a footballing brain than Terry and can cope with any style of attacker he faces. This makes him more important to have in the team. Also Terry's penchant for trouble on and off the pitch gives the national team a bad name. You will never hear of Ledley King being involved in night club punch-ups.
In terms of pace and power, Sol Campbell was once superior to King, however age is not on Sol's side anymore and his career is surely winding down. Campbell, while possibly one of the best defenders England have produced in years, has never had the ball playing ability that Ledley possesses.
I have heard people, mainly ridiculously biased Liverpool fans, claim that Jamie Carragher should always be ahead of Ledley in the pecking order which is absolute nonsense. Carragher is a very limited defender who can be easily exposed by a player who has a bit of skill and some pace to burn, something that would never happen to the Spurs skipper. He should stick to his word and stay retired from international football as he is simply not good enough.
If King can stay clear of injury he is England's best centre half in every possible way. And in the second half of the season he will show this by leading Tottenham to some success and showing Capello that he is indeed the man who the Italian can build his new look England team on.