Paul Scholes has admitted at Christmas last year he thought he would have retired by now.
The veteran Manchester United star is currently one of the most talked about players in the Premier League. Fabio Capello tried - and failed - to talk him out of international retirement in order to play a part in England's ultimately dismal World Cup campaign and successive man-of-the-match performances in the Community Shield and opening day Premier League win over Newcastle confirm the 35-year-old is on top form once more.
Yet, while 2010 will go down as one of Scholes' best years as a professional, in his eyes, 2009 was one of the worst.
And, in a special interview for MUTV with former United European Cup winner Paddy Crerand, Scholes acknowledged things were so bad, he was seriously considering whether to hang up his boots.
"At Christmas last season I did not think I would be playing in this one," he admitted. "I wasn't playing well enough. The season before last I had an injury for three months and then from Christmas onwards my form wasn't brilliant. Leading up to Christmas last year it still wasn't great.
"I wasn't playing as much as I would have liked but you need to be playing well to get into the team. I set myself high standards. I want to feel as though I am contributing to the team. If I am not doing that what is the point of being here."