The squad inherited by Fabio Capello has not changed significantly in the two-and-a-half years he has been in charge. But the key difference is the mentality. Under Steve McClaren and before him, Sven-Goran Eriksson, the team played with hope rather than any convincing self-belief.
What Capello has done is install some pride back into the team. Perhaps the idea of banning social sites such as Facebook and Twitter while in South Africa is slightly farfetched but his intentions are along the correct lines. Rustenburg will not be a holiday camp. Respect for the team, the country and each other is paramount.
Capello has seized the dressing room effectively during his time. A clear boundary exists between the players and the manager, which for a large part of the McClaren and Eriksson era, was blurred. The handling of the John Terry/Wayne Bridge incident is a perfect example of the Italian's man-management policies. No one is bigger than the team.
The confidence instilled in the squad has transformed performances on the pitch. In big games before Capello's reign, England were susceptible to stage fright. Even though some of the players ply their trade at some of the world's biggest clubs, the national jersey often carried a heavy burden. The qualification games allowed the manager to change all this and the players now face the prospect of competing in a major tournament with some self-assurance.
Off the field, Capello has ensured that every aspect of his team's preparation is perfect. Even a hand-picked chef, Tim De'Ath, will be there to select the correct meals for players.
The training camps in Austria and South Africa have been carefully selected. The former was chosen so that the players can acclimatise to the altitude that will be present in the tournament and the latter ensures that their stay at the World Cup is as relaxing as possible.
His next task is to finalise his squad of 30 in just over a week's time. Undoubtedly, Capello has explored every avenue and each name on that list will have sound justification as to why they are included.
Adam Johnson's performance against Spurs last night may have persuaded Capello that the 22-year-old is ready to gain senior international experience on the world’s biggest stage.
The cliche fail to prepare, prepare to fail is no better way to sum up Capello's methodology. Hopefully this mentality will pay dividends in the summer.
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