Ledley King is confident that this season will not be his last at Tottenham.
King, who joined Tottenham in 1998, is in the final year of his contract and manager Harry Redknapp says the defender must play at least 20 games to earn an extension. If his recent history with injuries is anything to go by, he may struggle to hit that mark. King rarely trains with the Tottenham squad as his knees swell up after every game.
"Is 20 games a realistic target? Yes, I aim to play as many as I can," King told the London Evening Standard. "Last season I started with a niggly groin problem, played the first few games and then came off against Fulham with a torn groin muscle. From then, every time I tried to come back I kept having a problem with the groin."
He added: "It was a nightmare situation trying to get it right, so I worked over the summer trying to get it right and coming into this season it feels a lot better.
"It's just a case of getting back to concentrating on looking after the knee now and hopefully nothing else will pop out of the woodwork. If I can just manage the knee, there is no reason I can't play quite regularly."
When fit, Redknapp regards King as one of the best defenders in the league. The Spurs boss is serious when he talks of the fans' favourite needing 20 games to win a new deal, though. Last season Jonathan Woodgate, another popular figure, was released after he failed to overcome his injury woes. That does not make King afraid of his future, however.
He said: "I don't feel the need to speak to anyone about it at the moment. I'll try to let my football do the talking. If I can stay fit and play the games, the situation will take care of itself."
Redknapp said after the 5-1 hammering against Manchester City that the summer transfer saga concerning Luka Modric and Chelsea had left a bad atmosphere around the club.
He is now convinced that cloud has lifted after the transfer window closed and he was able to shuffle his pack by offloading several fringe players and signing Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor. King has been impressed with Parker and Adebayor and believes their arrival has freshened up a squad that was in danger of going stale.
"Scotty and Emmanuel have different qualities to the players we've let go, so it's something fresh," he said. "We needed to freshen up a little bit. We'd played with the same group of players for a while and it was important to bring some fresh faces in to give us something different."