Our England international midfielder has had a torrid time with injuries in recent seasons but appears to be well on the way to full fitness having featured in all four of our games this campaign so far.
Although on the substitutes’ bench for the opening game here against Aston Villa, he came on to replace Steffen Freund in the second half. Darren was then in the starting line up for our trip to Goodison Park and it was this game which seems to have marked a turning point in his fight to put the injuries firmly behind him.
On a night when most things went against us, Darren scored our goal in the 1-1 draw, battled on for the cause despite us being down to nine men and, perhaps most importantly, lasted the 90 minutes. It was a performance which drew praise from manager Glenn Hoddle who was delighted with Darren’s work-rate and his fitness.
That match was Darren’s first 90 minutes for six months, the last one coming in our FA Cup fourth round 4-2 win at The Valley against Charlton Athletic in February, and he scored on that occasion too.
It’s been an Achilles injury which had kept him out of action for so long, but part of the reason for his return has been the intensive treatment he has been receiving on visits to the United States, a trip he made once again recently for further work on the problem area.
"I’ve been to the States quite a few times to get treatment on the injury," explains Darren. "It’s still a little bit inflamed even now but if it’s managed correctly and if I’m sensible with it, it should be okay.
"After three or four months out, I came back and did pre-season and played in a few games, which put more stress on the injury, so it’s been quite difficult."
The treatment Darren has been receiving is fairly unusual, as he reveals. "Basically, they use needles to prick the injury to make it bleed, which in turn makes it heal quicker. Normally that area of the leg doesn’t get much blood flowing through it, which is why Achilles injuries always take so long to heal. That’s the way they do it, the plan being that it will heal much faster.
"We’ve had the two week break because of the internationals, so it was sensible for me to get back over there and have more treatment since it was a little bit sore at the end of the Blackburn game.
"I have certainly noticed a difference and I’m pleased with the way it’s going. It’s an important season for me but at the same time it’s important for everyone, what with a new manager and new players coming in. I want to be a part of anything good that hopefully we can get going here."
As for our season so far, Darren believes we’ve been unfortunate and deserved better from our opening set of matches.
"We haven’t played that badly really and it was a good result against Southampton to get our first win," he says. "In the Villa game we played well in the first half and were disappointed not to win that and then going to Everton we again did quite well, with a little bit of luck we could have won the opening two matches. Blackburn was disappointing, but hopefully now we can push on having got that first win under our belts."
Tonight’s Worthington Cup tie gives us a brief respite from the rigours of the Premiership, but Darren insists we must treat it as if it were a league game.
"We have to approach it the same way as any other game," he says. "It will be like a cup final for them and they will give their all, if we’re not up for it from the start we could be in trouble. We have to be very professional about it and get the job done."
One of the most welcome sights for our supporters so far this season has been Darren Anderton back playing in a Tottenham shirt.