The 25-year-old, who endured a turbulent loan spell at Rangers under Paul Le Guen, revealed how not long ago he was totally disillusioned with the game.
Bardsley told the Sunday Mail: "Just over a year ago my contract situation was a bit up and down. I wasn't playing or enjoying my football. It was a difficult spell.
"Then in pre-season I thought I had to do something about it. I had to start enjoying the game again so I got myself into the best shape possible - and I'm reaping the rewards.
"It wasn't just about fitness, there were other little things along the way. I'd fallen out of love with football.
"I was training five days a week then not playing on a Saturday, which is hard and disheartening.
"It was frustrating but I bounced back - I got myself into great shape during the summer.
"I realised I had to look after No.1 and I'm now playing the best football of my career. Hopefully I can do the same this pre-season and kick on again for club and country."