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
2:00pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
IT was a case of damage limitation at Silverstone on Sunday in the pouring rain.
10:40am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Williams Martini Racing have confirmed that the partnership of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be retained for a third season in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.
9:30am Thursday 3rd September 2015
RUPERT Evans knows what it is takes to win the Minor Counties Championship as an Oxfordshire player, but admits beating Cumberland in this year’s final as coach would be just as special.
9:10am Thursday 3rd September 2015
MICHAEL Appleton is happy none of his players were nominated for a monthly award as he seeks to keep Oxford United under the radar.
9:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Oxfordshire ended sixth out of seven teams in the Home Counties League when they lost 132-100 to Bucks at Bletchley in their final game of the campaign.
8:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Woodstock Harrier James Bolton leads Abingdon AC’s Paul Fernandez by just one point ahead of tonight's final round of the Motavation Series in Oxford.
7:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Elizabeth Dorey represented England for the first time at the European Junior Touch Championships at Nottingham – just missing out on glory.
7:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Some of the county’s brightest young sporting talents are looking for glory in Manchester as they compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games, which get under way today.
More than 1,600 school-age athletes from around the country will descend on Manchester for the four-day multi-sport event – 15 of whom will be looking to bring a medalback to Oxfordshire.
Six of those will be competing in hockey, with Jona Boender (Abingdon), Niall Devaney (Oxford), Finn Dunleavy (Woodstock), Louisa Heathcote (Banbury) and Storm Sunderland (Deddington) all representing England sides, while Witney’s James Palmer has been selected for Wales.
Bloxham School pupil Heathcote, who is 17, will be representing England Girls White.
She is relishing the chance to shine saying: “I’m so happy to have been selected.
“My aim is to enjoy myself, but also play the best hockey I can throughout the tournament.”
Four Oxfordshire youngsters will be competing in athletics, which takes place tomorrow at the 6,500-capacity Manchester Regional Arena.
Luisa Chantler-Edmond (Headington), Emily Thompson (Banbury), Sam Way (Chipping Norton) and Ryan Craze (Didcot) have been selected to represent the Midlands.
Bicester duo Kieran Bird and Thomas Thornley and Faringdon’s Emily Nesbit will all represent England East in swimming.
Bicester Blue Fins swimmer Thornley, 15, said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games.
“It will be a great opportunity for me to develop as a swimmer and as an athlete overall.
“I can’t wait to get there!”
Oxford’s Saskia Freitas-Shoeffel will feature for England cadet women in volleyball.
And Benj Scheider, from Abingdon, completes the strong contingent from Oxfordshire with his selection for the England fencing team.
8:00am Wednesday 2nd September 2015
JAMES Roberts has been earmarked for a loan move away from Oxford United, but head coach Michael Appleton was quick to make it clear the striker has a bright future at the club.
6:08pm Wednesday 2nd September 2015
Bob Allsworth took two wins as Vikings whitewashed West Oxford Democrats Club.