Caulker looks ahead
With five games to go in his maiden Premier League season in the colours of Swansea City, the thoughts of the on-loan Steven Caulker are also on pre season and a return to the white shirt of Spurs.
Steven joined the newly-promoted outfit at the start of the campaign and has made a big impact at the Liberty Stadium as Brendan Rodgers' side have illuminated the top flight with a brand of football that has made the purists purr.
The England Under-21 international has made 22 Premier League appearances for the Swans this season - a run of games only disrupted by an injury sustained colliding with a goalpost against Arsenal - taking himself up to 95 games so far after previously picking up season-long league experience at both Yeovil and Bristol City.
For the 20-year-old, the experience he has gathered via climbing the leagues on a loan programme has formed a process towards his overall goal - winning a place in the First Team squad at Spurs.
"For me, going out on loan has been all about progression, trying to put myself in a position where I am ready to compete for a place at Spurs," he said.
"I have thrown myself into the challenge of being a success at all the clubs I have been on loan at, with this season being extra special because it was in the Premier League. It couldn't have gone much better for the team as we have got the results and also played in a style that is really enjoyable to play."
If Steven is looking for a shining example of the benefits of honing your game outside of a parent club then he need look no further than Kyle Walker, who last season accelerated his progress first in the Championship with eventual winners QPR before spending the second half of the season in the Premier League at Aston Villa.
"Yes that hadn't escaped my notice!" agreed the central defender. "Kyle has done brilliantly and has definitely shown the plus side of going out and learning your trade. I would love to follow in his footsteps and be alongside him at Spurs next season."
Steven reasons that pre-season is the period where he needs to impress and prove he is ready to take the next step.
"Pre-season is going to be a crucial time for me, a time where I need to be at my best and show that I am worth a place in the squad. My ambition is obviously to be in and around the team next season."
While allowing himself to consider the future, Steven was quick to express his gratitude for having such a fine platform to progress his game as the one provided by Brendan Rodgers at Swansea.
"It has been an amazing experience. First and foremost playing under a fantastic manager, one who wants us to play a style of football that has not been seen so much in the Premier League and it is something I have really enjoyed. We have picked up some great results along the way," he added.
"The last time I played football like this was in the youth team at Spurs and had to come away from it a bit in my first years out on loan. The gaffer gave me the confidence to get playing again, put his trust in me and gave me my debut straight away. My confidence has grown throughout the season and my composure has increased so much. Now I want to take the ball from the goalkeeper and I know I've got options in front of me. It is a style I enjoy playing in."
In terms of style, Steven believes he is now better equipped to challenge for a place in the squad alongside one of his role models from a little closer to home.
"Of course, Ledley King is one of my idols without a doubt, he is such a top player and has played at the highest level for many years. If I can model myself on someone like him there is no better example, while I also keep a close eye on Gerard Pique at Barcelona as a top modern day defender."