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Tottenham Hotspur's Ledley King (left)

Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur's injury-plagued defender Ledley King announced his retirement from the game on Thursday.

King, an elegant and assured centre back, has suffered with chronic knee problems which restricted his training and game time in recent seasons.

He made 323 first-team appearances since making his senior debut in 1999. He also won 21 caps for England.

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Spurs said King, 31, will remain at the club in an ambassador role.

"I have been here since I was a boy, I have always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team," King told the Spurs website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com).

"I know that being a one-club man is a rarity these days, but I have always enjoyed being part of the set-up here and the challenge of putting this Club up with the elite where it should be.

"I would like to say thank you to everyone at the club and to the fans. I have missed a lot of football over the years, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me during difficult periods.

"Sadly my injuries and inability to train have now finally brought an end to my career."

Spurs will stage a testimonial for King at White Hart Lane at the end of the 2012-2013 season.

"Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this Club - as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador," said Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

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"It has been well documented how he has battled against injury over the years and it is testament to the character of the man how he managed to sustain such high standards of performance on the pitch, while providing such fine leadership."

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