John Stones attributes his improvement for Manchester City and England to keeping things simple.
Stones hinted at previously over-thinking his game, which has been closely scrutinised, particularly since his £47.5million move from Everton to Manchester City in August 2016.
The 23-year-old now has 22 caps and showed his increasing importance to England in the encouraging goalless draws with Germany last Friday and Brazil on Tuesday night.
Stones received support from the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Joe Hart and his former Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka early in his England career.
And now he is passing on his wisdom to Joe Gomez, who was the man of the match against Brazil, on his full debut.
“Football’s never easy,” he said. “Me personally, and anyone in life, if it’s easy, you want a challenge. Everyone wants to challenge themselves in certain ways.
“I now try to pass it [personal experiences] on to the young lads and give them a few words. Like with Joe.
“It’s short and simple, really. You don’t want to flood his brain for when he’s coming out on the pitch.
“That’s what I found out when I was growing up, playing in big games. I didn’t want to be overrun and have too much information.”
The Brazil contest at Wembley was like an attack versus defence training game at times, with the visitors having the vast majority of possession. And Stones faced a familiar direct opponent in City team-mate Gabriel Jesus.
As the central figure in a new-look back three, with Liverpool’s Gomez and Harry Maguire of Leicester either side, Stones’ role was key.
“I think my performances speak for themselves,” he said.
“I’ve done my talking out there, wanted to improve.
“It’s about having a look at yourself and looking where you can improve and not shying away from where you’ve gone wrong. And that’s what drives you to be a better player.
“You can’t argue with two cleansheets against two top oppositions.”