England star Steven Gerrard has confessed that he used suffer from self-doubt at international level before Fabio Capello was appointed as England manager.
The Liverpool captain was criticised in the past for failing to replicate his stunning club form for the Three Lions, with sniping reaching a peak during the unsuccessful reign of former boss Steve McClaren.
But Capello was appointed as McClaren's successor following the failure to qualify for Euro 2008 and the Italian has since helped England book a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Gerrard has played regularly under ex-AC Milan, Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid chief Capello and he has revealed how the 63-year-old has altered his attitude towards England duty.
"I don't want to retire and have the highlight of my England career a quarter-final lost on penalties," Gerrard told the Daily Mail. "I want to look back on achievement, on a great team. I used to go down to England knowing it was not right, lying in my room for seven days with a tricky game ahead, driving myself mad.
"Everyone was on our case and we had too much thinking time. I wasn't sure I could run a game, I wasn't sure where I would be playing or what the manager really wanted from me.
Stone-hard"There was a lot of self-doubt. Now I lie in my room looking forward even to the team meetings and training just to be in Capello's company, because you get so much from him.
"He won't be inviting you to dinner or the pictures, and he is not the guy you want to cross if you've had a bad game, but he is not as stone-hard as he is made out to be. He does pat you on the back as well."
Gerrard believes that Capello's ability to keep players' feet on the floor has proved essential in renewing England's fortunes.
"I loved that after the win against Croatia in Zagreb, Capello's
first thoughts were what we could have done better," Gerrard added. "My mates who were watching the game were on a high about the performance, which is how it should be for fans, but he was already onto the next match.
"After we beat Slovenia in the friendly recently he was going round everybody during the warm down, telling them where they could improve and what they did right.
"Everyone was tired, really players just want to relax after matches, but he was still looking to drive us on and, however you may feel about it at the time, when you take a step back from it, that energy is refreshing.
"You look at a guy like Capello and sense he can help you achieve something. He is a manager I've always liked. I've seen him on the sidelines for Juventus and Roma and thought he looked a class act, I've read his book and when he got the job I immediately felt it could be our turning point."