Gareth Southgate has long believed England can play technically proficient, possession football on the biggest stage – now they must prove it in their World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday.
Former Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and England centre-back Southgate was parachuted into the national team job following Sam Allardyce's ignominious sacking in 2016, despite having not held a senior coaching position since being sacked by Boro on the other side of relegation in 2009.
But the 47-year-old honed his craft and methodology under the employ of the Football Association and a stint in charge of England Under-21s positioned him to pick up the pieces after Allardyce fell foul of a newspaper sting.
Southgate has brought an England team to Russia more certain and defined in their style of play than any in recent memory, having settled upon a flexible 3-1-4-2 formation.
Nevertheless, Monday's assignment in Volgograd remains the acid test.
"The players have really embraced it. I think they like playing possession football," Southgate told a pre-match news conference.
"That's the way they play with their clubs, although there are tactical nuances between each coach.
"They have a hunger to press and win the ball back. They want to play brave football and be a bold and attacking team.
"That's the way I want us to play and that's the reason I joined the FA as Under-21 coach – I believed young English players could show something different.
"There was a perception across the world and a perception of English football. I thought it was possible to change that.
"I've seen without youth teams that's started to happen and now we're looking to convert that into the senior team."
The relatively low initial expectations and building enthusiasm around Southgate's youthful squad stands in stark contrast to the star names from earlier this century, who failed to match weighty demands from Three Lions supporters.
"I think the history can help us in terms of understanding what we can improve upon and what we can do better. You learn lessons from the past," Southgate said.
"This team shouldn't be burdened with it because they're a fresh group. Most of them have very few international caps so the future is all ahead of them.
"They've got to be thinking about what is possible. The players of the past and the opportunities of the past are gone.
"This team is looking at things in a different way, trying to play in a different way. We have better technical players than we've had in the past coming through our academies.
"There is a real enthusiasm and they're looking forward to getting going."
|McIlroy´s youthful exuberance could be a bad sign for Carnoustie contenders|
|Saints triumph at second-placed Wigan|
|Anfield atmosphere sweetened Alisson on Liverpool|
|Bouchard reaches Gstaad quarter-finals|
|´What are you waiting for?´ - Alisson reveals Salah text messages|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazil star becomes most expensive goalkeeper in history|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazilian´s stats blitz Mignolet, Karius|
|Liverpool sign Alisson in world-record deal|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s got ball skills as Finau proves the scratch golfer|
|Woods: Score doesn´t reflect how well I played|
|Can we go to Paris now? - Thomas in a hurry after conquering Alpe d´Huez|
|Thomas: I could have finished stronger|
|Kisner shines at baked Carnoustie as McIlroy, Rahm and Thomas loom|
|Sarri´s mentality made me a better footballer - Jorginho|
|Tax rates played a role in Ronaldo joining Juventus, says LaLiga president|
|Aggressive McIlroy doing it his way, not the fairway|
|I let him have it - Spinazzola ribs Ronaldo over Juve shirt number|
|Thomas makes it back-to-back wins|
|Ramos may remain for Spain but Luis Enrique promising surprises|
|Cazorla still playing through pain after Villarreal appearance|
|Vegas to Carnoustie - a hellish trip for Jhonattan|
|NFL training camp 2018: Five under-the-radar rookies to watch|
|Woods off to a flyer as Thomas charges|
|Sanchez given green light to join Man Utd tour|
|Greipel, Groenewegen and Gaviria latest sprinters to abandon Tour de France|
|Luis Enrique hopeful over Pique as he plots a Spanish evolution|
|I had a brain fart - Spieth disappointed with missed opportunity|
|I´ve sacrificed too much to quit, says injury-plagued Rossi|
|Klopp rejects Henderson´s plea to return early to Liverpool training|
|Open champion Spieth loses ground in scrappy finish|
|Alexis Sanchez hints visa issue sorted as United States trip beckons|
|Kovac an admirer of Pavard, expects James to stay|
|Dzeko happy at Roma and eyeing silverware|
|Eels win basement battle with Bulldogs|
|Kluivert to follow Totti´s example after taking ´big step´ with Roma|
|Kisner hopes to return Claret Jug favour to Spieth|
|FIBA bans 13 players & two coaches over Philippines-Australia brawl|
|Spieth and Rahm in the mix as Kisner sets the target|
|Monchi insists Roma remain ambitious as Liverpool close in on Alisson|
|Cavendish thanks ´race that shaped career & heart´ after cruel Tour exit|
|No Trent Bridge Ashes Test as England confirm schedule|
|Ajax tell Barcelona not even ´insane´ money will buy De Ligt, De Jong|
|Hamilton agrees two-year Mercedes extension|
|Uran withdraws from Tour after failing to shake off injuries|
|Spieth tees off Open defence|
|Zidane has shown no will to coach France, insists FFF president|
|Risking the curse - Steelers star Brown lands on Madden 19 cover|
|Pogba silenced his critics with World Cup displays – Ibrahimovic|
|Warburton overwhelmed by support following retirement|
|Wilshere excited by tactics of Wenger-like Pellegrini|
|Deschamps never considered France exit prior to World Cup win|
|Persepolis eye Champions League after Iran impress at World Cup|
|Sandy Lyle gets The Open underway at Carnoustie|
|Roosters sign England international Hall|
|Ovechkin, Kim earn major honours at ESPY Awards|
|Owens not ´actively seeking´ to play in NFL again|
|Argentina need Messi – Tevez urges Lionel not to retire|
|Minnesota United 2 New England Revolution 1: Ramirez, Quintero sink stuttering visitors|
|Shaw: I want to be first name on Man United teamsheet|
|Manny Machado dealt to Dodgers|
|Pjanic hails Ronaldo arrival but refuses to confirm Juve future|
|Perotti: Roma can cope without Liverpool-bound Alisson|
|Klopp hopes Liverpool building towards title tilt|
|Karlovic exits as four seeds bow out in Newport|
|Angels clap back at Manfred´s marketing comments on Trout|
|Titans DL Casey will still protest despite new anthem policy|
|Popovich on Leonard trade: It´s time to move on|
|Zola returns to Chelsea as Sarri´s assistant|
|Anthony Joshua targets ´dream´ fight in Texas|
|Celtic 3 Alashkert 0 (6-0 agg): Dembele hits brace before injury worry|