Ledley King has admitted this season is the biggest of his career and has vowed to prove he is worth a new contract at Tottenham Hotspur.
The England international must complete a 20-game quota if he is to be offered a new deal, according to manager Harry Redknapp, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.
Chairman Daniel Levy has already ousted injury-prone Jonathan Woodgate, with the current Stoke City centre-back being shown the door at the end of last season.
However, the 30-year-old has responded well to the challenge set by Redknapp and has played in Spurs’ past three Premiership games, and is hoping to make it four in Sunday’s North London derby.
“This is my biggest season at Spurs yet,” King said.
“It is the first time I have been in a situation like this – when my contract is up. So it is a big season.
“I have to prove I am still worth it. I can’t see myself pulling on a shirt for anybody else at this stage of my career – although a player can never say never.
“At the end of the day, I just want to stay fit and if I can play, let’s see what position that puts me in at the end of the season.
“It is down to me to play the games. If I don’t play enough games, it is a difficult position.
“We will see what the situation is when all is said and done. If I get to 20 [games], I am not going to stop! I will keep playing as many as I can.
“At the moment I am just trying to bed in, get a bit of fitness and hopefully not get any niggles. If I can do that, I can get stronger and keep playing.”
King’s importance to the team is highlighted by the fact that with him in the team, Spurs have won 75% of the 56 games with him involved compared to the 32% of the 98 games without him.
And Spurs are undefeated in the previous seven games with King in the side, winning the previous three and only conceding one goal.
However, the Spurs trainee feels he isn’t performing to the heights of his abilities, King stating: “I don’t feel particularly great out there, in terms of sharpness and fitness.
“It has been like that for a long time. Sometimes I feel like I am playing at 60 or 70 per cent.
“You have to deal with the restrictions at times and hopefully once I have played a certain number of games, everything else will come.
“It is just a case of getting through the first lot and being there to help the team.”