Harry Redknapp has paid tribute to Ledley King as he decides whether to risk the defender in Sunday's Carling Cup final.
King returned to action in Tottenham's 2-1 victory over Hull City on Monday after recovering from a hamstring injury that had kept him out for several weeks.
However, his ongoing knee problems make it difficult for him to appear in two games in quick succession and Redknapp is still waiting to see if he will be fit for the Wembley showpiece.
The Spurs boss explained on Sky Sports News: "Ledley obviously played on Monday at Hull and he was excellent.
"The problem with Ledley is that it's always a case of wait and see. He doesn't train from Monday to Friday, he comes out the day before a game, has a loosener, and then pitches up and plays.
"Monday to Sunday can be a problem for him, he normally needs an extra day or two."
Redknapp believes King is one of the finest players in his position in England and has also saluted the 28-year-old's natural fitness levels.
"He is a massively important player for us," said Redknapp. "We are very lucky in this country that we have a lot of fantastic centre-halves and I think he is right up there with the very best of them.
"He is a great athlete. It is beyond belief that he can not train all week and then turn in the type of performances (he does).
"He has come out and played great for us when he has been available."
Redknapp is also considering whether to hand Jamie O'Hara a starting role against Manchester United.
The midfielder produced an impressive display in the Uefa Cup clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday and Redknapp has been impressed by his determination.
He said: "Jamie played last night and he was tremendous I felt.
"I couldn't see any way he would be available for this weekend. He's had a groin problem, he's had a tear, but he's so desperate to be a part of the team or squad after missing out last year.
"He told me he was distraught last year and he has pushed himself and pushed himself.
"He has put himself right back in my mind again. He is Tottenham through and through and has a great attitude."