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LONDON - Ledley King admitted Tottenham's League Cup final victory over Chelsea made his injury nightmare bearable at last.
King has the mental and physical scars of 18 agonising months struggling to recover from a knee problem that threatened to wreck his career.
But the Tottenham captain's moments of doubt and despair during the long, lonely hours of rehabilitation were finally erased when he lifted the League Cup skywards at the end of his side's thrilling 2-1 win at Wembley.
King is still not fully fit and, in only his seventh appearance this season, he was playing on adrenaline alone by the end of extra-time on Sunday.
"It's an amazing feeling, especially with the season I've had," King said.
"It's not been a good time. I'm just glad that I've been able to play my part in the end.
"I was tired at the end of 120 minutes. I've only trained a few times in the last month or so since the Arsenal semifinal.
"From the first minute of extra-time I had cramp in my hamstring but I didn't want to come off the pitch for anyone.
"I was always going to fight my way through it."
King was playing alongside recent signing Jonathan Woodgate for the first time and between them, the two centre-backs played a major role in winning Tottenham's first trophy for nine years, with Woodgate netting the winner with a header in extra-time.
English Premiership results:
Reading 1, Aston Villa 2 Blackburn 4, Bolton 1; Birmingham City 2, Arsenal 2; Fulham 0, West Ham United 1; Liverpool 3, Middlesbrough 2; Newcastle United 1, Manchester United 5; Portsmouth 1, Sunderland 0; Wigan Athletic 2, Derby County 0.