Guest blogger Callum Dent takes a look at the England situation almost a year after the debacle in South Africa.
After the 4-1 defeat to Germany in South Africa which knocked England out of the World Cup, changes had to be made if the national team are to be a success at future major tournaments.
The Germans did Fabio Capello a favour. They showed him what happens when managers adopt players in form, use attacking and versatile formations and give youngsters to opportunity to shine on the big stage.
England were flat in SA and lacked everything that was needed to win a World Cup. Togetherness, flair, confidence and freedom were all absent and it showed as England scraped through to the knockout stages despite draws with Algeria and USA.
Since the World Cup, Capello has taken a leaf out of Joachim Lowâ€™s book and changed the approach to the England team. The Italian has selected players that are playing well for their domestic clubs and has used strategies that have made England look a more attractive prospect.
Despite Capello’s lack of commitment and communication, England have been improved following their nightmare World Cup, although they remain someway off free bet favourites Spain in terms of quality, and look like a team heading in the right direction once again.
The qualifier against Wales was a very good performance even if they were playing an out-of-depth and inexperienced Welsh side. The players picked adapted well to the situation and played like a team with confidence and freedom, which were non-existent in South Africa.
Capello chose Jack Wilshere and Scott Parker to form a new look midfield with Frank Lampard and it worked as England outmuscled, outthought and outplayed their Welsh counterparts. Aston Villa striker Darren Bent was given a chance and he took it, scoring a first half goal to set England on their way to a 2-0 victory at the Millennium Stadium.
England adopted a 4-3-3 setup and looked comfortable with Ashley Young proving to be an inspired selection on the wing. Capello has a young side that can be winners in the future and could be worth placing free bets on.
Younger players likeÂ Joe Hart, Andy Carroll, Wilshere, Gary Cahill, Young and Adam Johnson are all likely to play a huge part in the future of English football. With big players such as Steven Gerrard, Lampard and John Terry all close to coming to the end of their international careers, England look in capable hands.