Jonny Bairstow has been in and out of England's one-day international team but he was delighted to take his chance on Tuesday with a century to secure a seven-wicket win over West Indies.
Bairstow made his 50-over international debut six years ago but only had 27 caps to his name prior to the opening ODI at Old Trafford.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was selected ahead of Jason Roy at the top of the order and proved the selectors decision right with a stunning knock – Bairstow finished unbeaten on exactly 100.
"It seems a long time ago that I made my debut in ODI cricket; there have been ups and downs along the way," said the 27-year-old
"When you get a chance you try to take it but with the strength in depth that we've got in the England side at the moment, the opportunities are few and far between."
Having restricting the tourists to 204-9 after a delayed start brought about by a wet outfield reduced the contest to 42 over per side, England cruised home with 67 balls remaining.
A towering six from Ben Stokes ensured the hosts' 210-3 ended with a flourish but it was Bairstow who deservedly earned rave reviews from skipper Eoin Morgan.
"Being there at the end really epitomises how hungry he is and how much he wants to be part of the playing XI," said Morgan.
"I thought he was absolutely outstanding and it was a great way for him to begin the series."
England's bowling attack also came in for praise from Morgan, particularly the disciplined leg-spin of Adil Rashid that helped stifle the West Indies batsmen.
"I thought we came back into the game after their strong start really well," he added. "Our bowling unit executed really well leaving us with a relatively simple target.
"Rashid managed to bowl exceptionally well today; I thought the bowling unit put in a really good benchmark for the start of the series."