Michael Murphy said the injection of youth in the Donegal camp has reinvigorated the panel after he clocked up his 100th appearance for his county on Sunday.
Murphy reached the milestone in the 1-11 to 0-11 Dr McKenna Cup victory over Down on Sunday.
The All-Ireland-winning captain, still only 26, made his debut in the competition against UUJ back in 2007 and rose from the bench to reach the ton mark in Ballybofey.
"Putting your county jersey on is a huge attraction and the youngsters who did it there today, like Ciaran Thompson kicking a number of scores, Jack O’Brien, Caolon Ward at centre-back, we’re so lucky to have them," he told RTÉ Sport.
"A lot of the younger lads showed their quality; it’s a great freshness for us all in Donegal. It injects a lot of positivity and freshness into the squad.
"We have to have a certain amount of confidence but all you can do as a team and a group of individuals is push yourself to the maximum level. At the end of the summer if that corresponds into winning and silverware then so be it."
"When [the appearances] ramp up to 100 you start looking over your shoulder to see if it’s time to hang the boots up."
Murphy received a rousing reception as he ran onto the field and underlined his desire to earn as many appearances for Donegal as possible over the next few years.
“It’s brilliant to get back out in Ballybofey," he said. "When you have the life of an inter-county footballer you just keep your head down and train away; you just play away.
"You’re just mad to get on the shirt and when [the appearances] ramp up to 100 you start looking over your shoulder to see if it’s time to hang the boots up.
"But please God is I stay fit for a while longer I’ll get another couple of years under the belt. I’ve just turned 26. Any player will tell you if they stay injury free they just want to keep playing and playing and I've been very fortunate to have done that."
Donegal tumbled out of the championship last summer after a 2-13 to 0-11 defeat to Mayo at Croke Park, and Murphy admitted they need to do more if they are savour glory in September once again.
"There's been a hell of a lot of positives but the end result, you have to look at it, we’ve no silverware on the table.
"To get knocked out of an All-Ireland quarter-final... it’s a results game. In terms of the way we were playing I thought we were going fairly well but I suppose at the end of the day we can take the positives from it. We know we need to increase the strength in depth of the panel and we’ll do that."