West Ham United centre back Danny Gabbidon admits to being unsure how the past Premiership season was going to unfold for him.
The Wales international made the jump to the top flight after moving from Championship side Cardiff City last summer.
Like many of his West Ham team-mates, the 26-year-old knew he was entering the unknown last August, but his efforts helped The Hammers claim a place in the FA Cup final and Gabbidon winning West Ham's Player of the Year award.
The former West Bromwich Albion defender was pleased to help West Ham achieve a ninth-place finish in the Premiership table and a berth in the Uefa Cup after their FA Cup final appearance.
"The season has gone really well for me, but I honestly didn't know what to expect or how I would perform in the top flight or if I would be able to handle it, so the way it has gone has been very good for me," Gabbidon said.
"West Ham have over-achieved in some ways and had a great season, so now we must take it up another level and with me improving my game.
"We have Europe coming up and we want to maintain, if not improve, on our position in the league. That is our target now."
Gabbidon knows next season will be a busy one for him, having established himself in John Toshack's Wales squad ahead of the qualifiers for the 2008 European Championship in Austria and Switzerland.
"I now find myself one of the senior players," he added. "It was not so long ago that I was the newcomer looking up to senior men.
"But times have changed rapidly in the Wales squad and I have accepted the responsibility.
"It is something I have taken on board and how I act and behave is important.
"You have to set an example because I remember only recently how I felt as a young member of the squad looking for leadership.
"I have become more responsible myself, more mature and it has helped me as a player."