June 17 Hailed for modern man-management, openness with a normally fiercely critical press and putting his faith in youth, Gareth Southgate has avoided numerous pre-tournament pitfalls that have undone his predecessors as England manager.
The squad arrived in Russian Federation this week with expectations well below the hype which has accompanied previous tournaments.
Harry Kane then coolly fired England into this summer's finals with his "94th-minute" strike seeing off Slovenia in a single-goal victory last October.
"And I think the boys are ready".
The United attacker has insisted though that there's no reason they both can't play together which is certainly a prospect Southgate has considered before when perhaps facing stubborn opposition.
"It is on the TV and players have their phones and social media so you are not going to get away from what's being said at home". Not only are they more relatable but painted in a more sympathetic light, beyond the caricatures of millionaire mercenaries just chasing more money.
"I think, with H, he's always been a captain - whether he had the armband or not".
"Of course, there were a lot of players at that time - Rio (Ferdinand), (Ryan) Giggs, Wazza (Wayne Rooney) - all there to help me and give me advice".
"There's a realism about expectations", Southgate added in the bowels of the Volgograd Arena.
"They are fine about it, Gareth understands how important family is to me, he is the same as well. But what you have to do is make sure that doesn't control you", said the coach, who believes the pressure comes from listening to "external noise" from outside of the camp.
But Delph insists they turn up the heat on one another during training when the time is right.
While victory in Russian Federation may be unlikely, Gerrard hopes the team can return with some pride.
"I said to all of the team before the game: 'I expect to see mistakes tonight and if I don't there'd probably be a problem because we won't be trying to be as good as we might'".
The overall record contrasts markedly with that in England's opening games at European Championships, where in nine appearances they have lost their first game on four occasions and drawn the other five. Fit-again forward Wahbi Khazri, who has turned in strong performances for French side Rennes, and left-back Ali Maaloul are players to watch.