Wayne Rooney admits England have previously been billed as better than they actually were, but there is genuine reason for optimism now Fabio Capello is in charge.
Rooney has directly benefited from the change in mentality Capello has instilled, scoring seven goals in his last five international games and heading into Saturday's clash against Kazakhstan brimming with confidence.
Rooney, outlining why he was left frustrated, said: "At times, the way we played. We weren't as good as we all thought. There were a lot of expectations and we didn't deliver."
He added: "That was frustrating at times. The way we're playing makes you enjoy it, as well as winning.
"The manager is a strong manager and his demands on us are obvious. You're wary now but in previous tournaments, two years before the start, we've gone into them saying we've got to win this or that. We didn't get close. We're aware of that now. We know what work we need to do."
Recent results have also put the smile back on Rooney's face.
"I'm enjoying playing for England a lot more," he said. "It's been a bit frustrating in previous times but at this moment I'm enjoying it more than ever."
Rooney's recent run has taken him to 21 international goals, and there could be more if he develops a selfish streak in front of goal.
"As a forward player, you need to be selfish if you're going to score the goals you want," he said. "Maybe I do need to be more selfish if I'm going to be playing in the role I want to be playing."
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