Manchester United defender Harry Maguire feels he is now getting his reward for remaining at Old Trafford to prove he is worthy of a place in Erik ten Hag's starting line-up.
Maguire made his fifth Premier League start of the season in the 1-0 win against Luton at Old Trafford on Saturday.
It is more than most expected at this point in the campaign given he had been restricted to a couple of late substitute appearances until the end of September.
But Maguire has performed so well since playing a significant role in the dramatic victory over Brentford on 7 October that he has kept four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane on the bench.
Maguire turned down an offer from West Ham this summer in favour of remaining at Old Trafford, even though the club accepted a bid for the 30-year-old.
"I played a few games last year, I just didn't play as many as I would have liked," said the England centre-back.
"I had two or three opportunities to get a run of games but I broke down with illness and broke down with injuries twice, so I never got the rhythm and never got the run of games so I could prove myself to the manager.
"I really enjoy playing for this club and I was willing to stay and fight for my place."
Maguire only started eight Premier League games last season, with Ten Hag believing he is not quick enough in rotating the ball in the left central defensive role he had occupied since his £80m arrival from Leicester in 2019.
It ended up being a straight battle with Varane for a starting slot, with the former France and Real Madrid defender coming out on top.
However, Maguire didn't let the setback negatively affect him, drawing on the positive experiences from his career.
"You use your experience and the memories you've had," he said. "I had to work hard in training to make sure I was ready.
"There was a lot of talk about me because I wasn't playing games, but I was playing well for my country, went to the World Cup and always thought my form was there.
"But I am up against some top-level centre-backs and last year they were playing amazingly, so I didn't get as many opportunities as I would have liked.
"This club demands competition for places and that is what we have in my position."