Manchester United star Paul Scholes has admitted he missed the game more than he ever imagined following his retirement last summer.
The 37-year-old made a sensational return to the game this month after coming out of retirement
Sir Alex Ferguson jumped at the opportunity to get Scholes back into his squad, introducing the midfielder as a substitute during the FA Cup third-round win at Manchester City earlier this month.
Scholes subsequently scored on his first start, against Bolton the following weekend, and is expected to play some part in Saturday afternoon's FA Cup tie at Liverpool.
It is not a career path he expected last summer, when he opted to do some coaching alongside reserve-team boss Warren Joyce.
However, his presence at United's Carrington headquarters proved to be a constant reminder of what Scholes was missing.
"At the end of last season, I thought it was the right time to finish," Scholes told MUTV.
"But after coming in here for the last three or four months, still seeing people and doing a bit of training with the reserves, I was missing it more than I thought.
"I went to see the manager and said that I wanted to come back playing.
"I didn't know what he would say. I didn't know what his reaction would be. Thankfully, it was a positive one."
Scholes, half-jokingly, denied his retirement, five months after that of long-time team-mate Gary Neville, was purely a ruse to get out of a lengthy pre-season tour to the United States.
"Part of it was," he said. "I didn't fancy going to America for three weeks, I know that.
"No, in all seriousness, I never thought I would miss it as much as I did.
"Ask any player who has finished, they will all miss it for a period of time.
"I missed it and decided to give it another go."
Scholes, who scored only one goal all of last season, admits it was nice to score against Bolton and he is now getting used to being back playing.
"It was nice," added Scholes.
"I hadn't played for six months, so it was strange being on the pitch again.
"The first two or three days took a bit of getting used to. But I am back into it now and enjoying every day."