Ledley King has declared that is it vital for young people to “enjoy” their football as much as possible in the early stages of playing.
The 33-year-old, who retired in July 2012 due to recurring injuries, has taken on an ambassadorial role for the Premier League and football in general.
Whilst he was assisting in the launch of a new Barclays football advert, he said: "Seeing kids who are passionate about the game and want to learn and develop is fantastic.
"We want to see people play the game with a smile on their face and it’s up to the players at the top of the game to be role models for all those youngsters who aspire to be just like them.”
Picking Ourselves Up
The ex-Tottenham Hotspur and England player paid a surprise visit to a Barclays filming shoot during the launch of a 60 second advert called ‘picking ourselves up’.
The film aims to shine a light on grassroots football and highlight those, both young and old, who capture the excitement of the Barclays Premier League and champion the true spirit of the game.
A group of two young London teams feature in the advert on the eve of the new season with anticipation building following last season’s thrilling finale.
“They still remember me at this point,” joked King. “That makes me happy. I love interacting with them [young people] and as long as they have a passion and enjoy what they’re doing, they’ve got a chance at succeeding.”
As an 18-year-old Ledley King remembers his first team debut for Spurs - the only football club he played for.
He said: “my debut were an unbelievable experience. Coming out against Liverpool in front of the Kop was amazing and the atmosphere was electric. It was a little bit scary as I was just a kid.”
On why he wanted to become a professional footballer, he said: “Watching the game on television as 10-year-old determined that football was something I wanted to do."
The advert was filmed at Wormwood Scrubs in London, the site of one of the first Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities which this year celebrates its 10th year anniversary.
Ledley King was speaking from behind-the-scenes at the launch of Barclays' new advert for the Premier League season. Visit their Facebook page HERE to find out more about what they are doing this season...