England have now won all six games since returning from the humiliation in Brazil. Last night's showing against an in-form Scotland side was perhaps the strongest performance yet and has given Roy Hodgson plenty to be happy about as a year of mixed fortunes draws to a close. We look at what the England coach will have learned from the battle against their neighbours.
1. England have finally found a right-back
After a dreadful World Cup, Glen Johnson's international career appears to be over. With likely replacement Kyle Walker recovering from an abdominal injury, young defenders Calum Chambers and John Stones have been trialled in the vacant right-back position but both seem more comfortable in the centre of defence. Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne was rewarded for his outstanding club form and given starting spots last Saturday and last night and took his opportunity. He looks far more comfortable in the role than his predecessors and found the right balance between attack and defence, coping admirably with Scotland's best offensive threat, Ikechi Anya. This appears to be no longer a problem position for Hodgson.
2. These players are adaptable
Hodgson disposed of the 4-2-3-1 formation that disappointed in Brazil and has largely favoured a 4-4-2 midfield diamond system during the European Championship qualifiers. However, when searching for goals, the coach has tinkered with using wingers and last night deployed his troops into a loose 4-1-4-1 formation. This worked well with Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain supporting frontman Wayne Rooney when in possession of the ball. Although England will want to stick with a favoured system sooner rather than later, it is important that the players retain this fluidity and highlights the improvement this young crop of talent has undergone.
3. Who needs Sturridge?
Daniel Sturridge was one of the few England players to come home from the World Cup with any due credit. Therefore, supporters were worried to see their most likely goalscorer sidelined with a calf injury for most of this season. Step forward Danny Welbeck. Arsenal's new acquisition has scored five international goals in Sturridge's absence and he seems to have formed a happy partnership with captain Rooney that benefits both individuals. It looks like the Liverpool striker will have to wait for his opportunity when fit again as Welbeck deserves to be the man in possession.
4. Is Jack Wilshere the man for the holding role?
There were a few raised eyebrows when Roy Hodgson declared that Wilshere would be his holding midfielder in the diamond formation, not least from Arsene Wenger. But the Arsenal man has excelled in this position and earned two man-of-the-match awards this week. His cross for England's first goal against Scotland was simply sublime. Against lesser opposition he is being given the space to showcase his array of quality passes and his possible defensive frailties are not being shown up. Only time will tell if he continues to deliver this level of performance against the bigger teams (England play friendlies against Germany and France) but there is no doubt he deserves the chance to find out.
5. The five-second fury epitomises improvement
England's young side could have been overwhelmed by the incredible atmosphere at a booming Celtic Park last night (Wembley regulars take note). They weren't. In fact, it was the men in white who bullied and ran their opposition off the park. Hodgson's new 'five-second fury' philosophy - the players sprint at and harass the man who has the ball in order to regain possession as quickly as possible - makes his side look fitter. stronger and hungrier than the other team and often leads to England winning the ball in dangerous areas of the field. Coupled with an obvious increase in technical ability, this side is a completely different outfit to the one battered in Brazil. Things are finally looking up and England fans can look forward to a more prosperous next year. #Football