The 28-year old England midfielder missed a lot of Chelsea's Championship campaign with a knee injury and after fighting his way back to full fitness was then selected in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad before having his contract at Stamford Bridge ended.
He said it was a tough season mentally with plenty of ups and downs and is delighted he is now in South Africa preparing for the world's biggest tournament with the England side.
"This sean has been hard," he said. "Mentally, it was tough coming back from injury, but it was also tough because I was in and out of the team. I need a manager who will give me, not that licence, but that feeling that you're going to play here, that faith.
"I thought I might have run out of time with this tournament. There was the Wigan game and the game against Stoke before that. We might have been five up or something but I went on and made a couple of goals. I'm sure people were wondering what I was on. That I was mad running round, chasing balls down to the corner. I knew we had the league won but I needed to show I was fit.
"But it's funny, though. For five years before my injury I was more or less a regular for England but suddenly I've got people patting me on the back for getting in a 30-man squad. It was great but then I wanted to get in the 23 and now I want to be in the 11."