Paul Scholes, the Manchester United stalwart, admits he thought he would have retired by now. Fabio Capello tried - and failed - to talk the 35 year old out of international retirement in order to play a part in England's wretched World Cup campaign.
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."
Fortunately, boss Sir Alex Ferguson reassured Scholes he was still making a valuable contribution to the Red Devils cause and after taking the club to within a point of what would have his 10th Premier League title, Capello made his move.
Scholes has already admitted he regrets saying no to the under-fire England chief.
"The manager has handled me, Ryan and Gary the same way for the last couple of seasons and I am sure this season will be no different," he said.
"If I am playing well enough, maybe I will play 25 or 30 games. "You want to play every game but at our age, you can't."
Scholes has now sidelined any talk of retirement and intends to keep going as long as he legs can carry him.
"I want to stay in football," he said.
"I started my coaching badges towards the end of last season. Hopefully I can get the first part done at some point this year."