Paul Scholes has given the Carling Cup an unqualified thumbs-up, even though it could be one of the reasons why England perform so badly at major tournaments.
After Fabio Cappello's team put in abject performances in South Africa, it was generally acknowledged that sheer weight of matches is one of the prime reasons. That backs up Michel Platini's belief that England's best players turn from lions in the autumn, to lambs in the spring.
Although most of Europe are using this midweek to play matches, it is either for a league fixture that will allow a gap to be created later in the season, or for cup competitions they tend not to give much importance to.
In England it marks the first step towards a Wembley final on February 27, and for Manchester United the chance to collect the trophy for the third year running.
At this stage, Sir Alex Ferguson prefers to use it to get valuable game time into his senior players, with the likes of Michael Owen among those expected to get selected for Wednesday's trip to Scunthorpe. However, no-one needs reminding the competition provided two of the biggest nights of United's entire season last year; the two-legged semi-final with Manchester City.
And it is the prospect of playing in such fixtures that will ensure Scholes takes a keen interest in the outcomem, with him saying: "I would prefer to be playing mega games than be sat at home watching them. You do get high intensity games in the Carling Cup and maybe in other countries, cup competitions are not as important. But it is in our nature to want to win every game."