Rio injury makes prince a King

RUSTENBURG - England defender Ledley King, above, returned to training yesterday and is confident his knee injury will not scupper his hopes of deputising for absent skipper Rio Ferdinand during the World Cup.

RUSTENBURG - England defender Ledley King, above, returned to training yesterday and is confident his knee injury will not scupper his hopes of deputising for absent skipper Rio Ferdinand during the World Cup.

The Tottenham Hotspur centre-back is favourite to fill in for Ferdinand, who was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a knee injury during a collision with striker Emile Heskey while training on Friday.

But there are fears that the Spurs captain's own ongoing injury will not stand up to the rigours of tournament football.

"The medical team and facilities here are second to none and with the right support I can definitely do it," the 29-year-old told a news conference at the team's Rustenburg base.

"The swelling and pain can be uncomfortable but I've shown this season that I can play games in quick succession," he added.

King is under pressure to quickly form an understanding with centre-back partner John Terry before their opening game against the United States on June 12 and expects the duo's experience to make up for lack of match practice.

The Spurs leader spends most of his time in the gym and swimming pool and only trains on the pitch a maximum of twice a week, severely reducing the amount of time available to forge a partnership.

"We're not going to have much time regardless of me training only once or twice a week, but I've known John for a long time and he's very experienced, as am I.

"He's a great communicator on the pitch and communication is key. If that's good then you've got a good chance," he added.

Ferdinand, who is expected to fly back home after watching his country's opening fixture, has been replaced in the squad by Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson, who arrived in South Africa on Saturday. - Sapa-AFP

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