Joleon Lescott admits he is yet to justify Manchester City's show of faith, but has unwavering belief in his own ability.
The Blues parted with £24million last summer as they lured the England international away from Premier League rivals Everton.
However, a miserable debut season at Eastlands saw Lescott struggle to find his form, while a succession of niggling knocks kept him sidelined for prolonged periods and dashed his World Cup dreams.
The commanding centre-half has vowed to bounce back stronger, though, and is convinced that he can prove his full value to Roberto Mancini and the City faithful during the 2010/11 campaign.
"It was a long summer and very hard for me because I had ambitions to go to the World Cup," said Lescott.
"But injuries meant I couldn't go. That was hard to take but I'm trying to get back into it now and working hard.
"Last season was frustrating. I worked so hard to get the move and I feel I didn't repay the club as much as I would have liked. Obviously the injuries didn't help, but I'm fit now and I believe I can repay the club if I'm given the opportunities.
"I started training towards the end of last season and have kept that going all summer to get stronger. I watched a few of the World Cup games while spending time with my family and friends but the main focus for me was to get fit.
"Having to watch it on television didn't make the situation any more difficult. I took it that I was injured and that was the main reason I didn't go to the World Cup."
Lescott is also confident that he can tie down a regular role at City this season, despite seeing defensive recruits in the form of Jerome Boateng and Aleksandr Kolarov drafted in during a hectic summer of transfer activity at Eastlands.
He added: "I expected there to be changes, even if we'd got fourth place last season. None of us are distracted by that, because we know we're all going to have to fight for our positions at this club.
"Everyone wants to play in the best teams and work with the best players, and City are no different. They want to achieve great things and to do that they've got to buy top players.
"I don't think any player needs to go to the manager for reassurance, but if you believe you're training well enough and playing well, but are not then given the opportunities to play, that's when you'll speak to him.
"At this moment we've only played a few pre-season friendlies, we're still training and a lot of players aren't back yet, so it's difficult for the manager because he can't shape the team or the squad as he would like.
"The target last season was to get into the Champions League and we didn't do that, which was disappointing. This season the aim is the same. The goal is to get into the Champions League and if we finish higher than fourth, that would be great."