Tottenham centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers feels he has matured greatly in the last year, growing both as a player and as a person after his loan spells with Sheffield United and Ipswich.
The 20-year-old U.S. international made his first league appearances last season and went on to play 34 matches in the Championship.
Carter-Vickers was in the starting lineup as Spurs beat Roma 4-1 in San Diego in their opening International Champions Cup match on Wednesday, and he believes he has benefited hugely from last season's experience.
"Last year was massive for me, on the pitch and off the pitch," he said. "Moving away from home and stuff like that, it builds your character and helps you grow up a bit.
"Playing week in, week out, it builds you as a player and as a person. Mentally and physically, it's demanding.
"I played a lot of games in the Championship, which is a hard league. I definitely feel like, [coming into] this preseason, I've improved. I definitely feel more confident out there.
"When you play against good opposition [like Roma] it's only going to help you improve."
While Carter-Vickers could be loaned out again this season, he said: "At the moment I'm at Tottenham so I'm just working hard every day in training, trying to impress the manager and trying to get into the Spurs team."
Carter-Vickers also took a step forward on the international stage last season, making his U.S. debut in November and ending the campaign with four caps.
He admits it was difficult to watch the World Cup after the nation's failure to qualify, but he says it has only fuelled the desire of the next generation to make amends and secure a place in Qatar in 2022.
"It was a massive disappointment for everyone involved in U.S. soccer when we didn't qualify," Carter-Vickers continued. "But that's behind us now. There's a good core of young players and we're all hungry, and we all want success.
"We all want to improve individually and be in a position where, when the next qualifying campaign comes around, we can help the team as much as we can and help the team qualify."
Meanwhile, Tottenham are assessing Victor Wanyama to see whether he will be able to play a part in their remaining warmup matches in the U.S. after the Kenyan missed Wednesday's game against Roma with a knee problem.
Wanyama was sidelined for over four months by a knee injury at the start of last season and has felt discomfort in the same area during training this week, but the issue is not thought to be serious at this stage.
The loss of another central midfielder would be a blow for Mauricio Pochettino, with the Premier League kick-off a little over two weeks away.
Spurs have travelled to the U.S. without Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele, who are on holiday after the World Cup, while Harry Winks and Josh Onomah have been left back in London due to injuries.