Stand-in England captain Steven Gerrard believes Fabio Capello has restored the players' belief in their own ability.
Liverpool midfielder reckons Capello can make the difference
Stand-in England captain Steven Gerrard has hailed Fabio Capello's calming influence and claims that he has restored the players' belief in their own ability.
In recent years, the so-called 'golden generation' of England stars have felt the nation's high expectations weigh heavily on their shoulders, which was compounded by the national side failing to qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren.
According to the Liverpool skipper, the introduction of former Real Madrid coach Capello has rejuvenated a squad that was often afraid to express itself at Wembley because of the pressure to perform.
Gerrard admitted that he was one of the players most affected by supporters' expectations, but is ready to lead his side out against Egypt in a friendly on Wednesday.
"I can certainly say I experienced fear when I went out to perform," Gerrard told the News of the World
"The pressure from supporters always transmitted itself on to the pitch.
"It's always an honour to wear an England shirt but you only had to see some of the performances, myself included, to see it could also be a burden.
"There was a lot of fear out there, it was difficult to play and we made hard work out of the fixtures we should have won. Fabio Capello has got rid of all that. The shackles are off and we play without fear now."
England won nine of their 10 qualifying matches to reach the World Cup as group winners, which underlines Capello's influence.
Gerrard believes that the Italian coach allows the players to express themselves, which has lifted the weight off their shoulders.
"He has given me some freedom on the left to go and express myself," added Gerrard.
"He has helped me positionally and tactically too.
"The main thing I've noticed now is that when I go out there I really believe in myself. The fear has gone."
"Fabio is one of the best managers because he can give you that belief, which you can see in how we play for him.
"I'm confident that he can take us really far in the World Cup. I don't want to inflate expectations but I do know is that if we are going to be successful it will certainly be with Fabio Capello."