Aston Villa and England midfielder Gareth Barry has revealed his delight at being a part of the dawning of a new era for his country.
Barry only knew he was a definite starter in Fabio Capello's new-look international side just an hour before Wednesday's kick-off against Switzerland at Wembley. After Villa placed five men in the original 30-man squad, Barry was the only one to start the match, which England won 2-1 in front of a bumper 86,000 crowd. Ashley Young made a cameo appearance as a substitute six minutes from time while goalkeeper Scott Carson was on the bench.
The players were only told if they were in the team as they prepared to board the bus to the stadium and Barry said he would not have had it any other way.
Barry said: "We had a meeting just before we boarded the coach, probably an hour or an hour-and-a-half before we got to the stadium.
"My phone kept ringing all day with people asking me if I was in but personally I think it is always better for a squad if they don't find out the team until they are preparing to play. It keeps you on your toes and it also keeps it from the press!"
The 30-year-old continued: "It was an interesting week with the new manager, getting to know him and him getting to know the players. We learned a lot over the three days we were together, so hopefully this is the start of a new era."
Barry, one of only three players to survive in the starting XI from the side last fielded by former manager Steve McClaren, played a deeper holding mid-field role than he had previously for England.
In previous games, he had enjoyed a more free-flowing role playing off Steven Gerrard, but the Hastings-born player explained: "The idea was that I was to start the early attacks for England. We discussed it briefly and I was very happy to play that role.
"There was talk about holding the midfield and I know there is not just me who can play there, but we worked on it in training and I think we proved in the game that we could play that way."
Barry continued: "The manager did most of the talking to us himself and his English is pretty understandable - he certainly had no problem in getting his message across.
"It was a shame we conceded a goal but, as the game went on, we grew in confidence. The Swiss came to try and take us on but that is international football; they were away from home so they wanted to try to break us down.
"I think we've learned a lot. England is a team made up of many quality players with different attributes and I am just delighted I've got to play a part."
Young, meanwhile, has backed striker Gabriel Agbonlahor to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on Wednesday's game.
The 21-year-old striker, who had been tipped for his senior international debut, pulled a hamstring in Villa's 2-1 defeat at Fulham last weekend and had to pull out of Capello's squad. He is also a doubt for the visit of Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United to Villa Park tomorrow lunchtime (12.45pm)
Young, who missed the Fulham game through suspension, said: "I texted Gabby after the game and he was a bit down about not being involved with England but he has lots of time on his side and I'm confident he will be knocking on the door again soon. He has years and years ahead of him."
The former Watford winger added: "Villa is a very good place to be at the moment, especially with all the talk about England. Everyone is enjoying the way things are going and the way we are playing and we are looking forward to tomorrow's game and getting back to winning ways."