Gareth Bale says he's rediscovered his "hunger" for football after rejoining Tottenham, and has admitted that "it's nice to be where I'm wanted".
Bale returned to Spurs on a season-long loan deal in September after spending the previous seven years of his career at Real Madrid.
When the Welshman left north London to undertake a new challenge at Santiago Bernabeu for a record fee in 2013, he did so having cemented a standing as one of the greatest players in Spurs' recent history.
The 31-year-old is not the same dynamic winger capable of opening up any defence with his lightning pace anymore, but he has adapted his game to provide a different kind of threat in a more central role.
Spurs fans have seen glimpses of his instincts in the final third, with Bale reopening his goal-scoring account by heading home the winner against Brighton at the start of November, and he is now pushing for a regular spot in Jose Mourinho's starting XI.
Bale told a press conference on Tuesday: “Coming back to a place where you feel loved gives you the hunger to go again and to play for your fans who you know support you so much.
“It’s nice to be back playing and nice to be where I’m wanted.
“It has definitely helped being back in the UK. Hopefully that can continue and I can have a good season for Wales on top.
“Getting my fitness back and being back playing is what makes every player happy.
“I feel I’m in a good place but there is still more to come, more to improve, and I'm looking forward to it.”
The Tottenham star was speaking ahead of Wales' Nations League clash against Finland on Wednesday, which the Dragons must win or draw to gain promotion to the competition's top tier.
Bale played the full 90 minutes of a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at the weekend, but has admitted that he is still readjusting to the rigorous demands of competitive action.
“It does take a bit of getting used to the rhythm of playing every few days," he added.
“I'm a bit more stiff than usual, but the more games I’m playing, the better the body is adapting. It will take a bit of time but I’m on the right path.
“I still need to get a little fitter and sharper as it takes a bit of time when you’re a bit older to get back to full fitness.
“Leading into Euros in the summer, that’s where I want to be peaking.”