Gavin McCann is one of a diminishing number of England supporters who can see some value in the Football Association's decision last summer to overlook Martin O'Neill.
Instead of appointing O'Neill, the FA surprisingly selected Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant, Steve McClaren, as the England head coach with muted enthusiasm and, subsequently, grim consequences.
McCann, the Aston Villa midfield player, has no doubts that O'Neill would have made a fine England head coach but prefers to see the manager in charge at Villa Park.
Although results over the past three months have been largely uninspiring, O'Neill has begun a Villa revolution that can only take the club back to where it belongs: in European competition.
McCann, one of a number of players who has flourished under O'Neill, is grateful for the chance to work with a manager who is respected throughout the game and is probably among the top 20 in Europe.
"I have played under many managers," McCann said. "And I particularly enjoy playing under Martin.
"Martin lets me get on with it, gives me confidence, guides me when he thinks I am doing something wrong. He praises you when you do something right..
"I think a lot of fans wanted Martin to get the England job but he is someone you want to work with, day in, day out."
O’Neill is convinced that striker John Carew can flourish with Villa. Going back to a familiar theme, O’Neill said that he will be more than satisfied if Carew "does half as well" as Peter Withe, the striker whose goal won the club the European Cup in 1982.
Withe was a cult figure with the Villa fans, who have taken to Carew in a similar way. Carew has played against Newcastle United, West Ham United and Reading and has, largely, been Villa's best player in that period.
"Carew is better than a decent player," O'Neill said. "If he can stay fit, he will be a decent acquisition to us and I have been very encouraged in the three games so far.
"It is very early but the crowd have taken to him. He is 27 and I don’t see why he should not be reaching his peak at Aston Villa. Villa have had some fabulous centre forwards over the years without a doubt. I think back to my friend Peter Withe, whom I played with at Nottingham Forest, and he was one of them.
"If John does half as well as Peter Withe, I’ll be happy. He proved himself in Spanish football [with Valencia] but he wanted to compete in the Premiership.
"I think he can adjust to the Premiership and it has been a positive start. He suffered from a touch of cramp in his first two games after not playing for some time but got in 90 minutes at Reading which will be good for him.
"The good thing is that during the last three games, we have looked capable of scoring."
Carew came to Villa from Lyon via a swap deal that saw Czech Republic striker Milan Baros moving in the opposite direction.
"I would have wanted to do the deal for John even if we could not have swapped Milan for him," O'Neill said. "But when the swap was suggested everybody thought it was good for both clubs, both managers and both players."
Phil Bardsley, the Villa right back on loan from Manchester United, says that the squad at Villa Park is better than recent results, not to mention the Premiership table, might suggest.
"When I see the quality of our squad and I look at where we are in the league table, it does not seem right," Bardsley said.
"We should be higher up. But every team suffers a dip in confidence and we had that. Look at other teams, like Manchester City, who are doing OK now. I am sure we will put a few results together and rise up the table."