Owen Hargreaves insisted he could rediscover his best form after ending his 18-month injury nightmare with a 45-minute appearance for Manchester United's reserves on Thursday night.
It is the first step in what could be an extended battle to regain his place, both at Old Trafford and also in the England team. But Hargreaves' ultimate aim is to rediscover the form that made him England's player of the 2006 World Cup and persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson to invest £18million on him 12 months later.
"I had better get there," said the former Bayern Munich star. "I am not coming back to just be one of the guys and to fill a spot. I have never been that way and, if that was the case, then I would rather walk away. I am coming back to have an impact and hopefully I can do it this season."
Hargreaves arrived from Bayern Munich with the tendinitis problem but completed around half United's games during that first season, including that famous Champions League final win over Chelsea in the Luzhniki Stadium.
Little did he know he was making the injury much worse.
"Not everybody's right and people make mistakes. That's part of life," he said.
"Ideally they don't involve you. When they do, you aren't too happy about it.
"In the end I missed two full seasons for Man United. I came here with high expectations for myself, and from the club's side of it, and the fans.
"To not to be able to play from 27 to 29 is incredibly disappointing."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.