Spurs can be in running for title again says ex-Tottenham captain King

Former Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King walks out onto the White Hart Lane pitch for one last t

Former Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King walks out onto the White Hart Lane pitch for one last time on May 14 2017 (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images). - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

In an article from our Kick-Off pullout, the Lilywhites legend looks ahead to the new Premier League season

Ledley King believes Tottenham Hotspur can challenge for the Premier League title again this season, but knows the initial target for the club has to be another top-four finish.

Mauricio Pochettino has turned Spurs from a side on the cusp of Champions League qualification to regulars since he took charge in May 2014.

The Argentinean has guided the club to fifth, third, second and third in their last four seasons and Spurs were firmly in the title race for two of those campaigns, with Leicester City and Chelsea.

Former captain King feels the squad is good enough to battle for first spot again, but discussed the importance of remaining in Europe’s elite competition and the long-term goal for the N17 club.

“I think at the beginning of the season the team should be trying to win the league,” insisted the 37-year-old former Spurs captain.

“We obviously understand how difficult that is to achieve, but we feel we have the players and everything in place to try and achieve that.

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“I believe that will be the aim, but ultimately a finish in the top-four will be the goal if we are not able to win the league because we must maintain our top-four spot and keep continuing to play in the Champions League and being one of Europe’s top teams.

“It will be our first season in the new stadium, so it will be a little bit different, but the top four is the long-term goal this year and hopefully we can secure that and push on and win the league in the next few seasons.”

During King’s time at the club, he got to experience playing in the Champions League in 2010/11 and made outings during the group stage win over FC Twente and draw with Werder Bremen, but he didn’t appear in the knock-out phase as Spurs made it all the way to the quarter-finals.

Injuries restricted the number of appearances he could make and it was a similar story the following campaign which resulted in the centre-back retiring from football at the young age of 31.

King called it a day having made over 300 appearances for Spurs in all competitions and following seven years as captain.

He was immediately given an ambassadorial role at White Hart Lane and it is one the Londoner has relished since retiring.

Recently he joined the first team on their tour of the United States and made various appearances at events with fans in San Diego, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

Former Spurs club-mate Darren Anderton was also part of the Tottenham contingent in the USA and the pair were able to mix with supporters before and after some of the games in the International Champions Cup.

The tournament proved to be a success for the Lilywhites even though they were without several key personnel.

Pochettino saw his young squad thrash AS Roma 4-1 in their first match with Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente netting two goals each.

An even more inexperienced team was selected to face La Liga champions Barcelona next, but the academy graduates in the starting XI impressed in a 2-2 draw.

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Heung-min Son scored against Barca and the former also netted in a 1-0 win over AC Milan.

A midfield trio of Luke Amos, Oliver Skipp and George Marsh was selected for the club’s final game in America and King feels the tour was good preparation for the new season.

He added: “It was fantastic. I think every year we come to the States our fanbase seems to grow and grow. This year the support in LA, San Diego and Minneapolis was great.

“For the players I think it was an unbelievable experience, they really enjoyed themselves and I think it was great preparation for us to be out there playing in front of our fanbase in the US.”