Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick has hailed Steve McClaren's resolve after a difficult first season in charge of England.
England's 3-0 win over Estonia on Wednesday eased some of the pressure on the under-fire head coach following a disappointing Euro 2008 qualification campaign.
McClaren remains confident England will reach next summer's European Championship in Austria & Switzerland and Barwick believes the former Middlesbrough boss has become stronger after a testing 12 months at the international helm.
"I sense that Steve is stronger for having come through the tests of the past few months," he said.
"Some supporters crossed the line with the vitriolic personal abuse aimed at Steve in Barcelona when we played Andorra at the end of March.
"That Andorra experience was genuinely unpleasant. It came off the back of a performance in Israel that got roundly criticised although before qualifying began, people would have said a draw in Israel was good enough.
"Steve has come through all that and there's a real steel about him.
"I remain very confident in him. He has taken a big job and he understands the scale of the job now."