Harry Thacker used the LV= Cup to announce himself as a future star last season and the Leicester Tigers hooker is hell-bent on repeating the feat this time around.
Thacker was among the most exciting players in last year’s LV= Cup, nominated for the competition’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award.
With plenty of previous winners now in the England setup and fellow nominee Luke Cowan-Dickie involved with the Saxons, the award is a well-recognised stepping stone to greater things.
However, Thacker acknowledges that with Tom Youngs and Leonardo Ghiraldini – with almost 100 international caps between then – standing between him and more Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances, patience is golden.
And after putting pen to paper for a new contract earlier this month, the 20-year-old is safe in the knowledge he has a role to play at Welford Road for years to come.
“The LV= Cup was a big thing for me last year and now I want to do the same again this year,” said Thacker.
“When you look at the people who are in front of me, there are two international hookers. I just want to make small steps and do my bit. I’m just happy to get any sort of game time.
“It’s great to be able to talk to them and learn from them at the age of 20. I have got a long way to go, there is no doubt about it. I have only played a couple of games and there is a lot to improve on.
“Leicester has been a part of my life since I was a kid, with my dad (Troy) playing here so it’s a nice feeling (to sign a new contract).
“I am not really sure what’s going to happen in the future. I just want to play when I can and keep improving my game and see where it gets me.”
Next up for Thacker and the Tigers is an LV= Cup clash with Northampton Saints, knowing victory will keep second-placed Wasps at bay in Pool 3.
“Wasps are a good side and they are just two points behind now, so it’s close,” he added. “We have got two games to keep hold of that position.
“They have got young guys coming through and they have done well in both of their games – but we just want to focus on ourselves.
“We won the first two games and put ourselves in a good position to crack on in this competition.”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.