Derby County defender Cyrus Christie has admitted he deserved to get criticism for his performances at the end of last season and has struggled to deal with being dropped.
Christie impressed in Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Burnley but is not head coach Paul Clement's first choice.
"Last season the confidence was low. The team took a knock and I took a lot of flak," he told BBC Radio Derby.
"But I deserved the flak because I wasn't really at it. It's been tough."
Clement has made summer signing Chris Baird captain and Christie has made only four starts from nine games so far this campaign.
"I have played games and then been out of the team and it has been hard, I can't lie," Christie, 22, added.
"My head has been all over the place and it has been hard to take, but it's part of the development and when the opportunities are given I have to take them.
"A few of the lads have spoken to me about what I need to do and how to keep my head and it is working for me. I am feeling good in training and the Burnley game was one of my best games for a while.
"I have come back in and although I wasn't involved at the start of the season, I need to keep going and keep improving and hopefully I can claim that right-back spot."