Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has insisted he's a stronger player for 12 months under the spotlight at the Theatre of Dreams, given new hope that he'll have plenty of chances to shine at Old Trafford by Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal this season.
Fellaini has only featured once for United this season after suffering an ankle injury in early August, returning to his native Belgium for rehabilitation work alongside national team-mate Christian Benteke.
The 26-year-old is battling back from more than an injury, with competition for places extremely tough at United, but in an interview with Sport Wereld was very positive about his chances of featuring regularly once fully fit.
He revealed: "I talked to Van Gaal, and he has never said that I had to leave. He said I had a lot of competition, but that I got the chance to prove it [that I deserve to play].
"I have known difficult moments last season, but there is a stronger player afterwards. I have confidence in myself and in my game again.
"I played a good World Cup and also during the preparation, I was good. It is unfortunate that this injury is for now just a spanner in the works, but at the end of the month I will be back. "
Man on a mission
There's definitely still plenty to prove for the midfield powerhouse, who United spent £27m on last summer in a deadline-day switch.
Fellaini was a behemoth at Everton and if a team plays to his strengths there's no question he can deliver in the Premier League, although it remains to be seen if Van Gaal will make those concessions.
Van Gaal used Fellaini from the bench in his first competitive game in charge against Swansea City last month, effectively putting speculation to bed over a late summer switch to Napoli.
United have a string of more defensive-minded players out injured so Fellaini's return to training at Carrington yesterday must have come as a welcome boost, with the challenge now on earn to earn a place in Van Gaal's starting XI.
With Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick all after a central midfield berth Fellaini will be under pressure to deliver instantly, but the former Everton linchpin is a man motivated to justify his place in Van Gaal's squad this season.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms