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King would rule the world if he didn't have the knee problem, insists his Spurs pal Gunter.

TOTTENHAM youngster Chris Gunter believes club-mate Ledley King would be among the best defenders in the world if it were not for his knee problem.

King yesterday pulled out of the England squad after being surprisingly selected despite being unable to train due to a long-standing knee complaint.

Gunter, on loan at Nottingham Forest, sympathised with his Spurs colleague, and said: "If he didn't have a problem he would be one of the best in the world.

"People say that he does not train during the week, and that is right.

He comes in on a Friday and turns in great performances every Saturday.

"For him to get through extra-time in the Carling Cup final says it all about his courage and ability.

"You don't see too much of him.

He works with the physios a lot.

He knows the condition of his knee, but he still manages to put in great performances.

"He has great respect from the other players at Spurs. If he is fit, he plays. There cannot be many who cannot train all week and then get through 90 minutes at the top level week after week, it is remarkable."

Gunter then turned his attention to his own international future as he prepares in Cardiff for Wales' two World Cup qualifiers with Finland on Saturday and Germany next Wednesday.

And he insists he has been assured that he still has a big future at Spurs.

The 19-year-old has been farmed out on loan to Forest after being removed from the relegation firing line by Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.

Spurs went for experience to haul themselves away from the drop, and that meant that the Cardiff-born youngster found himself sidelined.

Gunter is confident that he will be able to resurrect his White Hart Lane career next season.

He said: "I did get frustrated. But there are times I have been sitting on the bench at Spurs and looking around at players who have played 200-plus games in the Premier League. And they are not happy either.

"I just took a step back and realised the benefits of what I could do on loan somewhere. I have been told I will be part of what is happening at Spurs in the future.

"The manager has shown at previous jobs that he gives youngsters a chance. But maybe he thought that it wasn't the time to use young players, considering the position Spurs found themselves in."

Gunter added: "My general fitness has been fine, and although I have not played too much in recent weeks I am really looking forward to these two World Cup games."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 26, 2009
Words:437
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