Dawson will lead Spurs into the booming cauldron of St Jakob-Park tonight, knowing that victory over Basle will secure Tottenham's first European semi-final appearance in 29 years.
"I wasn't involved in the first game of the season, but the manager saw that I was working hard and he gave me a chance," Dawson said. "It's been an interesting season, to say the least."
Rewind eight months and it was a completely different story for the England centre-back. Just a matter of weeks after being anointed as club captain, the 29-year-old was told he could leave for QPR, who had a £9million bid for the player accepted.
Dawson turned down the move and, since the festive period, has become an ever-present in the heart of the Tottenham back four.
Villas-Boas had supreme faith in William Gallas, Jan Vertonghen and Steven Caulker so he was under no pressure to give Dawson another chance, but the former Nottingham Forest man is certainly glad he did.
He added: "In the summer I was out of the team, but I stayed because I believed I could get back into the team and I could help the team achieve things. Now I am playing I am loving every minute of it."
Dawson could quite easily have taken advantage of QPR's deep pockets, but he insists the thought of leaving the club where he has spent the last eight-and-a-half years never crossed his mind.
"Had I wanted to, I could have gone but I never, ever gave it a thought," Dawson said. "I love playing at the club. I'm captain of the team and it's a great feeling leading those boys out and, if I can help the boys to achieve things, it would be great."
To say his decision looks like a wise one would be an understatement. While QPR's relegation from the Barclays Premier League looks set to be confirmed in the next few weeks, Dawson will be concentrating all his efforts on leading Spurs to a top-four finish, and possibly a place in next month's Europa League final in Amsterdam.
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