Tottenham Hotspur assistant manager Steffen Freund has hailed Scott Parker's positive approach to regaining full fitness after long-term injury.
The 32-year-old spent most of the latter half of last year recovering from Achilles surgery and has not started a match since England's Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat to Italy in June.
However, he has made substitute appearances in each of Tottenham's last five matches and is expected to make his first start in the FA Cup third-round match against Coventry City on Saturday.
Freund revealed the key to Parker's speedy return to fitness was requesting to play games for the club's under-21 side.
He said: "I'm really proud about Scott Parker. It is Scott's attitude. He knows he will improve with games and that makes me proud as a coach that an England international plays with enjoyment with the under-21s so that he can be back in the starting line-up."
Despite starting against Coventry, Parker knows fitness is not the only obstacle to regaining his place in the team for Premier League and European matches.
Sandro and Mousa Dembele have both been in fine form and played key roles in Tottenham's rise to third in the table, while several other central midfielders are also vying for selection.
Freund added: "Sandro and Mousa are doing a fantastic job for us - 10 points in the last four games.
"To be patient is not easy, but that shows how strong we are, especially in central midfield.
"We have a lot of players. Don't forget Tom Huddlestone, don't forget Jake Livermore, Tom Carroll - they are waiting to start, too."Friedel
Veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel is also expected to return to the starting line-up against Coventry after being deposed as Tottenham No.1 by Hugo Lloris.
Freund said: "Brad is a fantastic professional - he is my age and still playing.
"It is good we are asked about the players not involved. They are really good players, they are fantastic professionals, they are coming in and doing extra work.
"Brad has signed a new contract and that makes me and the club really happy."