Michael Carrick is back and looking to emulate his England team-mates at Tottenham.
THE THURSDAY EXCLUSIVE: Spurs midfielder Michael Carrick is back and looking to emulate England team-mates Paul Robinson, Ledley King and Jermain Defoe.
Two touches from substitute Michael Carrick on Wednesday night said it all.
A perfectly-flighted free-kick invited Michael Brown to score in a thrilling Carling Cup tie at Bolton. A slide-rule pass to Robbie Keane deep into extra-time showed Carrick's vision and composure while everyone around him was tearing around.
Spurs beat Bolton 4-3 and Carrick's second game of the season following his £2.75million move from West Ham was deeply significant.
"It is good to get involved again. It's been a frustrating start to my Spurs career because I twisted my ankle in training and I've only been able to play in the last three weeks," he says.
"I came here to be in the thick of things. I'm happy to have come off the bench, set up a goal and play my part in an important win. It was frantic out there but we survived lots of pressure. It was good for me personally and the team."
Carrick, 23, was one of West Ham's bright young guard tipped to take English football by storm. Having seen Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe leave the club, it was with some relief that Carrick - capped twice by England - was finally able to follow suit in August.
But he understands the hard work begins now with Spurs also boasting Sean Davis, Jamie Redknapp, Pedro Mendes and Michael Brown as central midfield options.
"I want to be playing as much as I can, of course I do, but there are a lot of players competing and I'm aware I can't just turn up and play. It's a big challenge for me and I'm hoping to rise to the occasion.
"You can't complain when the team are getting good results without you but there is no chance of regretting the move. Ask any player and they want to be performing at the top level. I had a taste of the Premiership at West Ham and once you've sampled it, you want more.
"I am chuffed to bits. It's what I wanted."
It was back in 2001 that Carrick played against Mexico and Holland, the defeat against the Dutch was the last match before the famous 5-1 win in Munich.
Moving from West Ham to Spurs helped Defoe's international career and Carrick is ambitious enough to admit he would love to follow suit.
"I spoke to Jermain about Spurs and he said he really loved the club, he enjoyed it. I want to get in the Spurs team, that is my first target. But of course I know if I do well for Spurs, a chance with England might follow.
"I didn't have to think twice about signing for Spurs once I knew they were in for me. I have to take it step-by-step but I know Tottenham is a place where you get noticed."
Spurs manager Jacques Santini might prove a huge asset to Carrick.
With international experience managing France, Santini knows what it takes to succeed at the top. Jose Mourinho has pointed out certain aspects of Joe Cole's game at Chelsea and Carrick feels Santini is also a good adviser.
"He gives a lot of advice about playing in a team shape. It is the team, not the individual, which is most important and you can see we defend as a unit in the Premiership which has paid off.
"Even at clubs like West Ham, you know you're playing for the team but there is a bit more responsibility when you come to a club like Tottenham. You are never too old to learn in football and I'm hoping to carry on improving as a player."
Those Spurs fans who witnessed his extra-time display at Bolton know Carrick has the talent to do whatever he likes in the game.