Now, he is established as a first-choice midfielder in a young and seemingly fearless England team that is through to the last 16 of the World Cup.
Southgate was asked after the 1-0 defeat against Belgium in Kaliningrad whether his players had started practicing penalties and he replied the process had started in March rather than cramming in everything over a matter of days. But Kane is ignoring all the talk around his own performances and England's hopes of success in Russian Federation after reading too much during the dismal Euro 2016 campaign.
I've always said we've had a chance but at the moment I can't see past Brazil.
Alli worked himself into the team for England's Group G opener against Tunisia, only to pick up a thigh strain that kept him out of the final two matches.
"During the World Cup he has become a fashion icon".
Stones was pictured on the England bench with heavy strapping and ice around his left calf during the second half of the game against Belgium on Thursday.
Statistics suggest that players have an 89 percent chance of scoring if the team's last two shootouts have been successful. Most recently, they were eliminated from Euro 2012 by Italy. I try to practise different situations and make sure I am ready for anything that comes.
"I watched Colombia the other day and there's nothing to be scared of there for England", Merson said.
"Ten months ago we qualified and people were throwing paper aeroplanes onto the pitch at Wembley", said Southgate.
"I know my father's generation and those before them would view that differently, but you have got to be there for your family and that's very important". In spot-kicks awarded during games, he has saved only three out of 38 and one in his last 15.
"I will be talking a lot with him between now and the game - and we will have a plan".
"Personally, the only pressure is the pressure I put on myself".