Winter World Cup or winter break?
The talk of searing 50 degree Qatari heat at the 2022 World Cup appeared to rule England out of the running a decade before the event but a switch to the more moderate conditions of the Qatari winter would seem to provide renewed hope. The Premier League may object but the powers-that-be look set on the change with a December start date now the most likely scenario.
So after years of bemoaning the lack of a winter break in England, this could finally work to the country's advantage. While everyone else looks forward to spending Christmas with their families and is horrified by the prospect of playing through, England's brave workhorses will endure with the prospect of seven games in a month a stroll in the Doha park for the Boxing Day brigade.
St George's Park and the next generation
St George's Park cost upwards of £100million and those 330-acres of land provide better facilities for the future. That's what it said in the brochure anyway. The joined-up thinking and greater continuity between England teams should also be a significant help, while there has to be a belief that educating more coaches will lead to better taught youngsters.
There is hope. England won the European Under-17 Championship in 2010 and while there is a buzz about the likes of Paul Pogba, Gerard Deulofeu and Jese Rodriguez, there were eight players from John Peacock's squad in the technical team of the tournament. Ross Barkley, the latest addition to the England senior squad, was among them so there are signs this generation has the raw ability if it can be developed properly. Admittedly, Connor Wickham has a way to go.
Money talks and it's quality not quantity
With Italian football lacking the lure of years gone by and the financial crisis in the Spanish game, aside from the odd Arabian billionaire it seems the number of clubs able to compete with the Premier League teams' financial muscle is dwindling. That means higher quality players and the chance for the very best Englishmen to train and play alongside the finest footballers around. That can only help them.
Of course, the influx of foreign stars means that lesser English talent will have to drop down the leagues or move abroad in search of top-flight football. But the England manager can only put 11 men on the pitch at any one time. The first ever televised Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool in 1992 may have featured Stuart Pearce and Teddy Sheringham, but there was also Gary Crosby and Nick Tanner. A pool of 50 players playing in the world's strongest league might not be one for the patriots but it should be enough for the England manager in 2022.
It's cyclical, silly
First it was Ajax and the Dutch school, then it was Clairefontaine and the France football revolution. Now Barcelona's La Masia is seen as the template for success and tomorrow they might be talking about Belgium. The truth is that great players come and go. Just ask cricket fans who had to listen to years of talk of how Australian state system was the key to that country's success - now most people accept it was just an extraordinary generation. They'll be wondering what happened to Swiss tennis soon. Believe it or not, the next great player could be an Englishman.
Even if he isn't, this is tournament football. It's a cliché to talk of Greece's Euro 2004 win but what of Zambia's Africa Cup of Nations triumph or Uruguay's Copa America victory? History shows that knockout competitions are not necessarily won by the best team there. An upset win cannot be ruled out. Honest.
And besides, you've never had it so good...
There is tendency to look back and lionise the efforts of those who have gone before. Even the young soldiers of World War II grew up being told they weren't as worthy as the previous generation. The 1970s are seen as sparking a glory period for English club football, winning the European Cup six times in a row from the 1976-77 season onwards. And yet, England failed to qualify for both of the World Cups held in that decade.
The Premier League is cast as the villain due to the increase in foreign players but since the failure to qualify for the World Cup in 1994, the England team is going through a period of unprecendented consistency. They are one of only four countries to reach the knockout stages of the last four World Cup finals - something the team had never achieved before. In fact, there have only been 11 World Cups since 1966. That's the same number of Champions League tournaments since "crisis club" Real Madrid last made it to the final. These are the good times. Are you enjoying it?