Stand-in captain Rio Ferdinand is confident England are back on track under Fabio Capello after a "circus" era where players were more interested in WAGs than winning.
Ferdinand, who will wear the armband in Belarus where England will look to make it four wins from four qualifiers, can point to a change in results as a mark of how effective Capello has been - if they win at the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk it will be their best start to a World Cup campaign.
"We became a bit of a circus, if I'm honest, in terms of the whole WAG situation. It seems like there was a big show around the whole England squad," Ferdinand said. "That then transposed itself into the team. This regime is very water-tight. If I'm honest, it feels as if we're going in the right direction."
He added: "It was like watching a theatre unfolding and football almost became a secondary element to the main event.
"People were worrying more about what people were wearing and where they were going, rather than the England football team.
"I don't want to speak too soon, but you can see we're at the start of something and, hopefully, there'll be bigger rewards than what we've had in the past."
Ferdinand was known to be a player who preferred to stay at the hotel rather than get photographed in Baden-Baden - but he admits it was easy to get caught up in it.
"That's said in hindsight," he admitted. "You were caught up in the bubble. Being somewhere like Baden-Baden, walking around the town, there were paparazzi everywhere and we were among journalists as well, our families were there.
"When you step back and look back at that, you think like it was a circus."
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