Ledley King excited by young crop of England defenders

King excited by young crop of England defenders
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Former Spurs and Three Lions centre-back Ledley King is excited about the "top-class" potential of England's next generation of defenders.

Former Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Ledley King expects the country's crop of young defenders to become as good as England's golden generation.

Injuries and competition for places with the likes of John Terry, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Carragher limited the Spurs legend to 21 appearances in a once-fledgling international career.

There has been much talk of the Three Lions entering a new era following the retirements of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, but King has no fears about the future of England's defensive ranks.

He is excited about the "top-class" potential of players such as Calum Chambers, John Stones, Steven Caulker and Eric Dier, and is also tipping current regulars Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to blossom in time.

"There's no reason why in two or three years' time we couldn't see a generation of defenders every bit as good as mine," he told the Daily Star. "I think in my time we were fortunate to have some top class defenders. It was probably one of England's strongest positions. We had a number of good players there.

"But things change. At the moment we are an exciting team going forward. We have good young players in forward positions. "But there are good young players that can in the future hopefully be top players. Players like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at Manchester United. I expect them to improve under Louis Van Gaal.

"Stones at Everton, Calum Chambers, Steven Caulker. I'm going to keep an eye out for Eric Dier as well.These are players who've got big futures and hopefully can be the commanding centre backs that you need in a national team. It's up to the rest of the players to push for spots in the team as well. Young players need time and the experience of playing in the team."

King retired from playing in 2012 due to persistent knee problems, and is now an ambassador at Tottenham.

 Manager Roy Hodgson of England looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between England and Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 14, 2014
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