Jermain Defoe insists he feels as sharp as ever as the season approaches.
The striker is first to admit that he endured a 'stop-start' 2010-11 campaign with a serious ankle injury ruling him out between September-November and just six goals to his name in the second half of the season.
He still bagged his 100th goal for Spurs in that time – only the 17th player to do so in the club's history – but you get the feeling it was a season he’d rather forget on a personal level.
“It was the first season where I’ve had injuries and it’s been so up and down,” said JD, brimming with confidence at Spurs Lodge this week.
“It was really stop-start and I couldn’t get going, couldn’t get into the rhythm that I normally get into. That’s why I’m looking forward to this season and to get off to a good start.”
His goal against Athletic Bilbao to win Saturday’s friendly – a first-time finish into the top corner from a tight angle – suggested he’s back on-song just days before the scheduled big kick-off against Everton at the Lane on Saturday.
Jermain said he had the same feeling during the build-up to the 2009-10 campaign, where he went on to score 15 goals before the turn of the year - including that famous five-goal haul in the 9-1 win against Wigan.
“I always feel sharp in pre-season because the work we do is hard anyway,” said JD. “I always put the effort in.
“Even before the start of the season I was away in the South of France for 10 days, working hard before we came back.
“In the game at the weekend against Bilbao I felt really sharp and to be honest, that’s the sharpest I’ve felt for a long time.
“I remember the season before last when we went to China and played West Ham and Hull, I felt sharp in that pre-season but last season I didn’t really get much of a pre-season because of the World Cup.
“It was important for me to get a good pre-season this time around, to get five or six weeks to prepare, I’ve done that and now I’m ready.”