Stephen Warnock has revealed he found it difficult to keep going at Aston Villa under Gerard Houllier, but he’s glad he stuck it out after Alex McLeish took over the managerial position.
Warnock received limited game time under Houllier’s reign last season, and was particularly disappointed considering he had been included in the 2010 England World Cup squad.
But the full-back is now receiving the opportunity to star for Villa, and says that his struggles over the last year have motivated him to work harder to succeed.
"It was frustrating and I never want it to happen again," Warnock told the Birmingham Mail. "That's why I'm so hungry to do well this season.
"It was very difficult but I was lucky to have [reserve team boss] Kevin MacDonald with me when I was training with the reserves.
"He kept me on top of my game and told me to keep fit and make sure my head was right. He said 'you never know what's going to happen in football'. He was great to me and Habib Beye.
"He kept us ticking along and the young lads were great with us as well. It was good at times because I was helping to develop the young lads and passing on a bit of knowledge to them."
Warnock is hoping to show Villa fans what they’ve been missing out on over the last season, and while he is excited at the prospect of getting the chance to do that, he is still keeping his feet on the ground and taking one day at a time.
"I'm enjoying my football and things are going well but it's early days yet," he explained.
"I have to carry on doing it for the rest of the season. The difficult thing is to maintain your form but I will be trying everything I can to continue that.
"My best form was when I was at Blackburn and when I got my move here. In my first six months at Villa, before I got injured, I was playing as well as I ever have. Hopefully I can get back to that level.
"I know I can do it if I get a run of games and keep my fitness up. That's a massive thing. If you're playing regularly, you get your confidence up and you know things will come off when you try them."