Dimitar Berbatov has revealed that he encouraged Ledley King to go down the coaching route last season and that he was pleased to see his former Tottenham teammate take his advice.
King joined Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff this season following the departure of tactical analyst Ricardo Formosinho.
It has been claimed that rather than taking over the tactical analysis responsibilities of Formosinho, King’s primary involvement will be focused around defensive coaching drills, while also assisting the club’s academy graduates around the first-team (The Athletic).
When asked if he was surprised to see King make the step up to coaching, the Bulgarian told Football.London: “It did not surprise me because, and not many people know this, but when I watching Spurs from time to time, going to watch at games at the stadium last year, I was always sitting with him.
“I was always like ‘Ledley what are you doing man?’. He said that he was doing different things and was always around the team.
“I said ‘why are you not in there coaching? Go and be there like this’.
“Now all of a sudden I see him being the first team assistant and I’m like ‘well he did take my advice’. So I’m going to text him and tell him that.”
The 39-year-old lavished praise on King’s quality as a defender and insisted that he would have gone on to even greater heights if not for his injury problems.
He said: “I’m happy to see it because he’s a living legend. I always said that in my opinion, he was on the same level as Rio Ferdinand, his reading the game and intercepting, tackles, everything.
“He was just unfortunate with his injuries. Still though just one training session and in the game he was a machine. Just imagine what he would have been like without the injuries. It was so unfortunate.”
The former Spurs striker also admitted that King led by example during his time as a player rather than constantly shouting at his teammates.
When asked if the central defender was a loud voice in the changing room, Berbatov responded: “No he was a follow my example kind of guy, which I like a lot. Myself, I’m like this, at United Giggs was the same and Scholes. They were showing an example of how to be.
“Most of the time you’d get some players who were shouting but that’s because of insecurity, shouting to pretend to be someone you’re not. Ledley was just calm and he would go out there and do what he did.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I am yet to see a central defender in the Premier League who was as adept at reading the game and sensing danger as King was. He had this uncanny knack of stopping attacks before they could materialise, which meant that he hardly had to make last-ditch challenges or blocks. I am extremely excited to see how he can help improve the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier.
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