So Michael Carrick's path to his current status as a Spurs player with England prospects has been a strange one, not least because injuries have taken their toll.
He was out of contention for England's last two games due to a bad ankle, which was when Ledley King stepped in with aplomb. But when injuries are not a problem, Carrick is one of the first names on Martin Jol's teamsheet. He made his full League debut for Tottenham in the north London derby, which was also Jol's first League game in charge.
Almost one year on from that 5-4 home defeat, the great rivals face each other again at White Hart Lane today with Carrick ready to show how he has matured. "I'm 24 so you don't get away with being a youngster and you've got to take more responsibility and live up to your potential.
"I want to take games by the scruff of the neck. Being more consistent at the top level is what it's about."
Sven-Goran Eriksson will be in attendance today, giving the affable Carrick another chance to state his claim. "Now I've got to take this opportunity," he added.Reuse content