Rory Delap has admitted he never expected his Premier League career would last as long as it has following his move to Stoke City.
The 35-year-old joined the Potters on loan in 2006 before signing permanently the following year and has continued to feature heavily in Tony Pulis' team.
Delap is grateful that he is still being given the opportunity to be part of the club's success at the highest level.
"If I was being brutally honest, I wouldn't have thought five years ago that I'd still be playing at this level, but I've dug in," Delap said.
"When I came to the club, the gaffer said this is where he wanted to be and asked who wanted to be with him, and he and the chairman have kept their promises.
"We've got quite a few of the lads still here that were part of that."
Stoke boss Pulis believes success comes from mixing new signings such as Cameron Jerome, Peter Crouch, Matthew Upson and Jonathon Woodgate with the long-standing players like Delap, Higginbotham, and Mamady Sidibe.
"They are people who have been here for a long time and they know the structure and DNA of the football club. They are important people to us," Pulis said.
"I think the basis of the football club is really built on having good people around you.
"As a manager the job is hard enough as it is and you can make it even more difficult if you don't get the right sort of people in.
"I think over the past six or seven years what we have done very well is select decent people, who have come here and really rolled their sleeves up and worked hard.
"Rory has epitomised that - he would be in that top group of players that you would say this club has been built on. He has been a bedrock of the success of Stoke City."