Jack Wilshere says England’s humiliating early World Cup exit has been “consigned to history” as they continue their road to recovery.
Less than four months have passed since Roy Hodgson’s men trudged back from Brazil with the worst record of any England side to appear at the finals.
England were eliminated in the group stage for the first time since 1958, with a record of two losses and a draw seeing them end up with their lowest World Cup points tally.
Uncomfortable questions linger over that failure but those involved in the national set-up are only interested in the future, with a fourth straight win in Estonia on Sunday – making it three wins out of three in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign – helping that healing process.
“It is credit to the manager and his coaching staff that the World Cup is consigned to history,” said Wilshere.
“The first meet-up after the World Cup, we went through it and that was it.
“Maybe the game against Switzerland (a 2-0 win in Basle last month) helped where people didn’t expect us to do much but we went there and showed we have still got the quality that is required for this level.
“We have pushed on from that game now and we are looking forward.”
The 1-0 win in Tallinn was harder work than it should have been, with Estonia – ranked 81st in the world – reduced to 10 men for the majority of the second half.
England were wasteful in front of goal and Wilshere knows he should have opened the scoring before Wayne Rooney’s free-kick maintained their 100 per cent start to qualification.
“We are happy with the win but we are happy with the performance as well, especially in the first half,” added the Arsenal midfielder.
“We dominated the game, we stayed on top of them. We knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as San Marino (who England beat 5-0 last Thursday). This is a well-organised team. We were away from home on a different pitch to what we are used to, but I thought we did well.
“We created chances and we probably should have scored a few more but we are happy with the win.”
Wilshere was quick to praise game-changing captain Rooney afterwards, with his 73rd-minute set-piece making up for his other missed chances at the A Le Coq Arena.
“That’s the sign of a world-class player,” he said.
“He had a few opportunities but when it comes to those sorts of moments of magic, he can produce them.
“He has done it throughout his England and Manchester United career. He has still got it and we are lucky to have him.”
Rooney may have got the goal and Joe Hart again voted fans’ man of the match, but Wilshere was the outstanding player on a cold night in the Baltic state.
Again deployed at the base of the diamond, the 22-year-old broke-up the play as well as providing an attacking outlet – all part of the 4-4-2 diamond which helps England to become a “horrible team to play against”.
“I said after the Switzerland game I am only going to get better in this role,” Wilshere said. “It is a little bit difficult because I don’t play it for my club.
“I am used to playing a different role but that’s what I spoke about after the Switzerland game, doing your homework, watching players who play in that role and learning from them.
“I am feeling better and better as each game goes on.”