Michael Carrick has spoken of his delight at being one of Manchester United's key figures and the extra responsibility that comes with that status.
With the squad losing senior figures on the pitch in the form of Edwin van der Sar, John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher to retirements, transfers and injuries, the midfielder has stepped up and his performances have earned him praise from boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Carrick’s showings on the pitch have seen his confidence restored and the 30-year-old believes that he has improved with age, adding that he enjoys setting an example for the younger players.
"Responsibility comes with experience and age is a big factor in that,” the midfielder told reporters.
"There was a huge turnaround in the summer. The lads who left were all hugely experienced. The ones who came in, or back from loan, were younger.
"All of a sudden I was seen as one of the older ones - and I am, I am 30 now.
"I haven't got a problem with that. You have to set an example to the lads coming through and keep the traditions of the club going. Hopefully I have done that."
Carrick's side are 7/5 with Bet365 to overturn his old club, Tottenham, on Sunday.
The former Spurs man also spoke of the enjoyment that he gets out of playing alongside Paul Scholes, the veteran midfielder’s return in January coinciding with widely-acclaimed improvements in Carrick’s game.
"It is great to have Paul back," he continued. "I wouldn't say I missed him because you have to move on quickly but he is one of the greats of English football and to play with him again is great.
"We have a good understanding and enjoy playing with each other.
"We have had some good games already this season and hopefully there are more to come."