Sheffield United midfielder Michael Tonge says he has no regrets about missing out on a fast-track to The Premiership as The Blades prepare for their first game of the season.
Both Tonge and team-mate Phil Jagielka were frequently linked with a move to the top tier of English football as Neil Warnock consistently struggled to lead his side to the promised land.
The 23-year-old attracted strong interest from Liverpool three years ago but remained under Warnock's watchful eye and was finally rewarded by promotion last season.
Tonge is now looking forward to taking on his former suitors on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1, and insists he has no regrets about missing out on a high-profile move early in his career.
"The last thing you want to be doing when you're 19 or 20 is leaving for a bigger club and ending up in obscurity, not playing," Tonge told the Daily Mail.
"You'd think 'Flippin 'eck, what's going on here?'
"The boss helped us along and we've succeeded in the end because we're going to play in The Premiership.
"I think I can do myself more justice against the top players now than I would have at 19 or 20."
Warnock meanwhile has praised goalkeeper Paddy Kenny after the Republic of Ireland international lost a stone in weight over the summer to leave himself fit and ready for the challenge of The Premiership.
"As Paddy's got older he's changed," said Warnock.
"He's adapted to the requirements of professional football and turned into a top-class keeper."
One player who could be struggling with his fitness at Bramall Lane is striker Steve Kabba with reports suggesting a hamstring injury could rule him out for up to six weeks.