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Michael Dawson says he has already endured all the rest and relaxation that he can bear, and will spend the summer building up his fitness in preparation for the next campaign.

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Two injuries restricted the 28-year-old defender to just 13 appearances last season – the final one coming in the 3-1 FA Cup victory over Stevenage on March 7.

With his hopes of playing a key role for both club and country in tatters, Dawson has endured a miserable season – but he says his trials have only fuelled his desire to make an impact in 2012/13.

“The campaign started well for me but then I then had an Achilles injury early on and that needed an operation,” he told Hotspur magazine. “I was back in action before Christmas and feeling fit and fantastic, but then in March I was unlucky again.

“The [ankle] injury itself was just a freak. It was just one of those things that happen – there’s nothing you can do about it – but I knew as soon as it happened that it was serious. I tried to get up again and when I failed I realised I was in trouble.

“I knew straight away that England would not be an issue for me this summer.

“I was fortunate to go to the World Cup and love representing my country, but I know that if I’m fit and doing well for Tottenham then hopefully I will get another call.

“Now all I want to concentrate on is getting myself fully fit because I’m already looking forward to pre-season.

“Normally I rest for about three weeks during the break before starting to plan for the following term by keeping myself ticking over with some stamina work – but this time I’m going away to get myself fit throughout the summer.

“I’m determined to make up for lost time, have a good season and play lots of games. I’m single-minded in that because you realise how much you love the game when participation’s taken away from you.”

Dawson admits that he has cut a frustrated figure in the treatment room in recent months.

“The medics here are great and they try to keep you positive as well as putting you right, but I find it so hard,” he said. “The worst thing is hearing all the banter as the lads go out to train and being stuck behind.

“The season is a long, testing one and you have to demonstrate mental as well as physical strength to come through – and those demands don’t just disappear if and when you’re injured. It’s all still there but in a different way

“I’ve certainly got to know Tom Huddlestone a lot better because he’s hardly played at all so he’s had it even harder than me.

“We’ve been working hard together but it’s great that the two of us managed to get back out there before the summer break and we can now look forward to next season and coming back stronger.”

Dawson’s recovery was all the more painful because he had to sit and watch as Spurs threw away their lead over Arsenal and eventually finished behind the Gunners – but he insists that the Lilywhites should be buoyed by their second fourth-placed finish in three seasons.

“We finished in the top four and you couldn’t ask for much more. That was our aim at the start of the season and we achieved that,” he said. “True, we were disappointed to be 10 points clear in third place and then to have that steadily eroded and overtaken.

“But we won a lot of tough games and picked ourselves up again after our disappointing spell to really make it start happening for us again, so we can’t be too hard on ourselves.

“We played some of the best football in the Premier League at times and that deserves respect.”

You can read the full interview with Michael Dawson in the latest edition of Hotspur magazine – out now!

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Lilywhites.

Ground: White Hart Lane (capacity 36,310).

Founded: 1882.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1951, 1961

Second Division: 1920, 1950.

Southern League: 1900.

FA Cup: 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991.

League Cup: 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008.

Uefa Cup: 1972, 1984.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1963.

Leading goalscorers: Jimmy Greaves, 379.

Leading appearances: Steve Perryman, 854.