After making his first England appearance for four years, Gareth Barry has spoken out in favour of the existing system of friendlies that underpins the international calendar.
The Aston Villa captain believes the structure, much maligned by supporters, commentators and Premiership managers alike, is still valuable in that it affords new players the chance to prove themselves at the highest level.
Barry's opinions appear to fly in the face of popular consensus which decries matches such as the 1-0 defeat to Spain as a waste of everyone's time, particularly the fans who pay large amounts of money to watch such games. And even England manager Steve McClaren expressed his belief that it would be better to hold training camps rather than play matches against lacklustre opposition in front of half-empty stadiums.
But Barry, who was one of six substitutes used at Old Trafford earlier this month, claims that a diet made up of just competitive football would leave the national side with little room for experimentation. He also thinks the reaction to the loss to the Spaniards, and England's faltering display, have effected the way the population views such occasions.
"The whole manner of the defeat at home and the manager getting a lot of criticism means a lot has been made about the role of friendlies," Barry said. "But friendlies are always going to be a part of international football because they are needed, whether the system of using all the substitutions changes or not I'm not sure, but we'll always have them.
"The fringe players will always get a game and the chance to impress. If it was constant qualification games you would just get the same sort of players.
"But for myself and a lot of other players out there in my situation, these games are an opportunity to get a game."
The 45 minutes he played against Spain, initially on the left side of midfield and then at left back, represented his first taste of international football since he played the last five minutes against Serbia and Montenegro in June 2003.
But a string of decent performances in the Villa midfield this season which have not only established him the heartbeat of the side but its leading Premiership scorer too, had made his recall virtually inevitable.
To his credit McClaren could not ignore the evidence Sven-Goran Eriksson simply refused to see and having reacquainted himself with stars like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, he hopes to be able to salvage something from a game out of which very few positives emanated.
"I'm hoping it's not the case that it was a waste of time," he said. "I don't want it to be a waste of time. He [McClaren] has seen me in training and seen me play half a game. Hopefully I've impressed.
"We'll have to wait for the next squad to see. There are injuries and suspensions, so hopefully they can fall in my favour.
"It was nice to be involved again. What comes out of it I am not sure but it was just good to be linked with England again and playing with the best players in the country.
"I knew everybody in there either from with the Under-21s or my time before so it wasn't a case of being nervous, I settled in really well."
And although he claimed he was somewhat surprised to be the first substitute called from the bench, he was less shocked by the manner in which the team and McClaren in particular were lampooned after the match.
"I'm not surprised at the criticism because it comes with the job," he continued. "Any manager that takes it and the results don't go according to plan, knows what's going to happen. It's no surprise to anyone."
Meanwhile team-mate Mark Delaney is to be given the chance to earn another contract at Villa despite the fact he is currently on crutches following a serious knee injury.
The former Wales international is likely to miss the rest of the season thereby endangering his eight-year stay with the club but manager Martin O'Neill is adopting a supportive stance.
"I will rule nothing out at this minute. I'd prefer to wait and see what happens," said O'Neill. "In terms of rehabilitation, I'd like to think even if that goes beyond his contract, we'd be pretty receptive to anything he wants to be doing here.
"Whether clubs are legally bound is a grey area, but if I were Mark I wouldn't want that to be a major concern at this minute and be rushing to get fit because his contract ends on June 30."