Former Oxford United midfielder Peter Leven is determined to make a return to football next season, almost 18 months on from his last appearance.
An injury-hit finish to the Scot’s spell with the U’s, who released him at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, appeared to signal a premature end to his career.
But after taking time to fully recover from the knocks and assess his options, retirement is not on Leven’s agenda.
Time spent in the USA in February training with second tier side San Antonio Scorpions rekindled the 30-year-old’s de-sire to make a playing return.
He said: “I did double sessions every day for a week.
“I never used to do that back home and it gave me a sense of believing in myself again.”
Crucially, there has been no recurrence of the knee problems which hampered him in his time at United.
Leven, whose memorable strike from the centre circle against Port Vale in October 2011 was the highlight of his 67 games in two years with the club, admits his willingness to play through the pain did not help.
He said: “It was like ‘if you need me to play, I’ll play’, whereas some players would take three or four weeks out to get fully recovered – maybe that was my downfall.
“Don’t get me wrong, I still have to look after myself.
“I was told to retire at 17 and I’m 30 now. I have still got the same knee I had when I was 17, but I know how to manage myself.
“I’ve averaged 35 games a season over my career.”
Coaching appeals to the former Glasgow Rangers trainee, who already has his UEFA B Licence and will start the A Licence course shortly.
Ideally, he wants to find a player-coach role this summer and is prepared to drop into non-league.
A couple of Skrill Premier clubs have shown an interest, while there are also potential opportunities in the USA and Scotland.
Leven is doing everything he can – even joining Twitter (@peter_leven) – to avoid slipping out of the game for good.
“It’s been absolutely horrible, that’s why I want to be involved again, in any capacity,” he said.
“When you’re doing well everyone wants to talk, but when you’re thinking what’s out there people forget you and don't pick up the phone.
“Football is a tough world and you just need to get on with it and I want to keep going as long as I can.
“I just want to stay in the game, I don’t want to disappear out of the back door.
“I’ve got a lot to offer, on and off the pitch.”
Latest Sport news
9:30am Thursday 11th February 2016
MICHAEL Appleton has warned Oxford United fans to strap themselves in for a rollercoaster final third of the season.
8:30am Thursday 11th February 2016
OXFORD United will look to bolster only their strikeforce during the emergency loan window – barring injuries.
8:40am Thursday 11th February 2016
Didcot super-middleweight Gavin Lissenden believes the best is yet to come after claiming his first major title.
7:50am Thursday 11th February 2016
The ‘Town Team’ beat Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities in the first Triangular Contest sporting challenge.
7:30am Thursday 11th February 2016
JONATHAN Cornish continued his fine form to win the fourth round of the Oxford Mail Cross Country League with a dominant display at Cirencester Park.
7:10am Thursday 11th February 2016
Berinsfield's lead at the top of Buildbase Oxford & District League Section 1 was cut to four points as they were held to a 3-3 draw at Headington Conservative Club.
7:00am Thursday 11th February 2016
Dave Larham is looking forward to his new job as Oxfordshire rugby’s development officer.
9:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
MICHAEL Appleton has called on goalkeeper Sam Slocombe to bounce back after his two errors cost Oxford United victory over Mansfield Town.
9:00am Wednesday 10th February 2016
LOUIS Bloomfield struck within eight seconds of kick-off as North Berks League Division 1 leaders Saxton Rovers stretched their lead at the top to nine points with a 5-0 win at Long Wittenham Athletic, writes PHIL ANNETS.
9:00am Wednesday 10th February 2016
OXFORD University Press went top of the Oxfordshire Senior League Premier Division with a 4-0 win over Middleton Cheney.