It takes a lot to intimidate John Terry.
Yet the man the Chelsea skipper will line up alongside against the USA on Saturday used to scare the living daylights out of the Blues defender.
I haven’t changed at all since I was stripped of England captaincy, says John Terry
Ledley King revealed a few days ago that his earliest memories of Terry were as the mini-whirlwind of the Senrab midfield who barked orders and tackled everything that moved in front of him for the East London side.
But it is Terry who has a team picture of that under-13 side on his Blackberry and the Chelsea man who recalls King as a man mountain of a teenager who literally called all the real shots.
“Ledley was massive then – just look at him!” said Terry, proudly showing the picture of them in their red and black striped shirts, with King head and shoulders above the rest at the back while he was a foot or so shorter.
“I was scared of him. He was a lot bigger than a lot of the boys and he just used to scare the life out of everyone by just looking at them.
“He’s said I was a bit outrageous then and maybe I was a little bit in training. But I think he was as well. He was similar to me in that he gave everything.
“We all used to get told off and sent around the running pitch in training and away we went and we would be talking.
“It is a long journey from those school days playing football together to the 2010 World Cup.
“We have kept in touch ever since and followed each other’s career. Even back then you could tell that he was a lot bigger and stronger and he has kept that about him.”
What King has retained is a touch of class, making him, despite his chronic knee problem, the ideal counterfoil to Terry’s more aggressive approach to the art of defending.
“Ledley is quality – he plays like a Rolls Royce,” added Terry. “I’ve known him all these years and I still couldn’t tell you if he is right or left footed.
“Just watch him when the ball gets played into the box and he does a “Cruyff turn” on his left foot, which as a right-footed player is difficult to do.
“But he has great understanding, he has great feet and is a joy to play alongside.”
“Of course when we started at Senrab I was in midfield but we played together a lot and have always had an understanding. He normally likes to play on the left side like myself at Chelsea, but we spoke and he was happy to go on the right side.
“I thought it worked well in the game against the Platinum Stars on Monday.
“He does not train every day but his fitness levels are brilliant and something which has really impressed me. He still does a lot of gym work and swimming and a lot of short sharp stuff which keeps his fitness.
“A lot of the time you can walk through stuff and have a chat about things after training. We are always willing to talk and learn which is important as well.”