Paul Scholes has admitted that at Christmas last year he thought he would have retired by now.
Scholes has been in dazzling form at the start of the new campaign, helping Manchester United to victories over Newcastle and West Ham in the Premier League.
He also starred in the Community Shield win against Chelsea and opened the scoring in United's 2-2 draw at Fulham.
Scholes' performances have been all the more remarkable considering he will turn 36 in November, and the evergreen midfielder concedes he had doubts about his future less than a year ago.
"At Christmas last season I did not think I would be playing in this one," he admitted to MUTV.
"I wasn't playing well enough. The season before last I had an injury for three months and then from Christmas onwards my form wasn't brilliant. Leading up to Christmas last year it still wasn't great.
"I wasn't playing as much as I would have liked but you need to be playing well to get into the team.
"I set myself high standards. I want to feel as though I am contributing to the team. If I am not doing that what is the point of being here."
Scholes accepts that he will not be a permanent fixture of the team this term but is still determined to play his part alongside other senior players such as Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
"The manager has handled me, Ryan and Gary the same way for the last couple of seasons and I am sure this season will be no different," he said.
"If I am playing well enough, maybe I will play 25 or 30 games.
"You want to play every game but at our age, you can't."
Scholes has now sidelined any talk of retirement and intends to keep going as long as his legs can carry him.
He is also contemplating what might lie ahead after hanging up his boots, saying: "I want to stay in football.
"I started my coaching badges towards the end of last season. Hopefully I can get the first part done at some point this year."