Michael Owen admits he took to the field in Manchester United's FA Cup win at Southampton fearing he might have to wait another three months for his next start.
Saturday's 2-1 fourth-round win at St Mary's saw Owen named in Sir Alex Ferguson's XI for the first time since October.
The 31-year-old, who was also making his full FA Cup debut for the club, has started just 15 games in total during his injury-blighted Old Trafford career.
Even when fit, the former Liverpool and England striker has found his chances few and far between, putting extra pressure on him every time he pulls on a United shirt. So his vital equaliser came as much as a relief to the player himself as it did to the travelling fans.
Owen told MUTV: "It is frustrating, obviously, because you always want to play a bit more. But I am old enough and wise enough to know the manager's problems and the amount of players he has to keep happy. The hard bit is when you get asked - and your opportunities have been few and far between - the pressure is really on to play well.
"If you don't, you will get your criticism and all the rest of it, but you will probably have to wait another three months for a chance."