Manchester United defender Gary Neville has revealed he thought he was about to be released by the club at the end of last season.
Neville, who did not sign a new one-year deal until the end of April, believed he had just three weeks left at the club before finally joining fellow veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in signing a new deal.
"I turned round during training one morning and said 'I have three games to go at Manchester United','' said Neville at a sponsorship announcement for Singha Beer. "I had not spoken to the club and I genuinely felt it could be the last three weeks.
"The club didn't owe me anything and I was more than happy. I was enjoying myself. In some ways, my best football came in a period I thought I was just going to enjoy.
"Because of my injuries, I have thought about the fact I might have to find something else. Two years ago I thought it would be my last season. Obviously last year I felt the same. I recognise this one could be as well.
"I am on a one-year contract. If I don't perform or I feel the club don't want me anymore I will be gone. That is life. In the 19 years I have been here, it has happened to better players. What keeps me going is the thought of running out at Old Trafford and winning trophies.
"It is all I have known since I came to my first match when I was four. If I was anywhere else I would struggle. At this stage of my career, my motivation is to extract every since ounce of enjoyment I can. I want to contribute to a team that can win things. That is all I have ever wanted to do.
"My career has been in three distinct parts. I had the pre-first-team time, then from 19 to nearly 33, it was virtually flawless. I was always on the teamsheet and regularly playing nearly 50 games a season. Then I got the injury and was missing for 18 months. Coming back I felt as though the game had moved on and found it really difficult to adapt.
"It was like I had to learn to adapt to my own body. I was training differently.
"I feel as though I am starting again. I have had to build myself up from the bottom. Now I have to target 30 games.
"There are periods where I have to be ready for the manager to use me. You can almost tell when those times will be. Coming up to Christmas when the pitches start to get a bit rougher and experience is required. Post-Christmas when some of the younger players have had six months and need a rest.
"My first games this season will probably be in the Carling Cup and lesser games. I know there will be some point in the season where the manager needs me. I have to be ready for that moment.''