ENGLAND defender Ledley King has dismissed fears he will not have time to forge a solid partnership with John Terry, insisting their experience will make up for a shortage of practice.
It is three years since King last started a game alongside Terry and, with only five days until the opening match against USA, England’s likely centre-back pairing have precious little time to rehearse.
The situation is made even worse by the fact that King cannot train as much as his team-mates, the Tottenham star’s chronic knee problems demanding he follow a reduced programme.
But the 29-year-old, who is expected to feature this afternoon when Fabio Capello’s men play local side Platinum Stars in a practice match, is confident he and Terry have the know-how to succeed.
“We are not going to have much time to do it, regardless of me training once or twice a week. But I have known John for a long time, he is a great communicator on the pitch, and that is what you need,” said King.
“He is an experienced player, as am I, and I wouldn’t see a problem if we’re needed to play together. If the communication is good within the back four, you have a good chance.
“I have also been playing long enough now to know my position. I try to keep an eye on the training and especially set-pieces which are important. If I do that, I’ll know where to be on the pitch.”
Capello will be desperate for King to avoid any injury setbacks in South Africa, having already lost first-choice defender and captain Rio Ferdinand.
To add to the Italian’s concerns, West Ham centre-half Matthew Upson missed training for the second successive day yesterday, although he is expected to return today.
Matthew Dawson and Jamie Carragher are Capello’s alternatives.
Skipper Ferdinand to stay with squad
HE may have been ruled out of the tournament, but injured England captain Rio Ferdinand is staying in South Africa to cheer on his team-mates.
Ferdinand, who damaged knee ligaments on Friday in the first training session after flying out to the World Cup, will attend Saturday’s opening match against USA.
It is unclear whether he intends to stay beyond that, like David Beckham, who has travelled with the squad despite being ruled out months ago.