John Egan has been channelling the frustrations of being out of the Brentford team towards the end of last season into improving his game.
The Irishman was practically an ever present at the start of the season but only appeared once for the Bees since making his international debut in March with Yoann Barbet preferred.
And the 24-year-old was, naturally, frustrated about being out of the side but is determined to win the shirt at Sheffield United and keep it for the rest of the season.
Egan said: “I was very frustrated I missed a few games at the end of the season because I played a lot of games and it drives me on to kick on and take my game to another level.
“It’s going to be a big fight for shirt this year and I want to keep it.”
Competition for places at Griffin Park this season is fierce with the battle at centre back being between Egan, captain Harlee Dean, Andreas Bjelland and Yoann Barbet.
Egan added: “It was the same last season and it drove all of us on to improve. Once you get that shirt you don’t want to give it to anyone else.
“It makes you focus more on your performance so you keep playing well and keep your shirt. All over the park we have that – it’s good because nobody can go out there and rest on their laurels.
“You have to give 100 per cent and do well or there are people waiting in the wings.”
Egan has skippered the side when Dean, who is suspended for the season opener, has been on the bench and the expectation is he will skipper the side against Sheffield United, although the Irishman was playing it down.
He explained: “I was captain a lot at Gillingham and it’s just an armband. The gaffer still has to pick his captain for Saturday.
I might have been captain in a few pre-season games but everyone should be a captain in their own way on the pitch.
At the end of the day it’s just an armband – everyone has to go out there and try leading in their own way.
“Harlee is a great captain, he’s always giving 100 per cent and he’s very vocal. Everyone is different.
“I like to go out and lead by example. But I’m not even the captain so I don’t know why we’re talking about it!”
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