England look to remove shackles against Sweden
Euro 2012: In Krakov
As Roy Hodgson joined England's players in driving rain on gentle laps of the pitch at their Hutnik training base, his thoughts will have focused firmly on the next phase of their Euro 2012 campaign.
The buzzword from players and management around the England camp since the creditable 1-1 draw against France in their opening game in Donetsk has been "platform".
A point earned from arguably England's toughest Group D game in Ukraine has provided this platform - a base and solid foundation for manager Hodgson to move forward.
Invite questions on the first impressions of Hodgson's new England, however, and one query is posed with such regularity that it assumes significance.
Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott scored England's goal against France in their opening game in Donetsk. Photo: Getty
Can England emerge from what has been a rigid, fiercely disciplined tactical approach to remove the shackles when the occasion demands, as it will against Sweden in Kiev on Friday when a win would take them closer to the quarter-finals?
France manager Laurent Blanc joined defender Patrice Evra in providing a less than flattering analysis of England's approach when he said: "You can win games this way but over the duration of a tournament you have to show some attacking ambition."
Hodgson will not waste a second of his time worrying about Blanc's judgement shaped on the evidence of one game in Donetsk. Indeed France were hardly an advert for footballing flamboyance.
England's 64-year-old manager rightly rails against suggestions that he suffers from some form of tactical rigidity, wrapped in caution and conservatism, formed during a lifetime in coaching. To sling such a label around his neck after three undefeated games in charge is to insult his intelligence.
He trusts implicitly in his own methods and to suggest he would ditch his time-served approach to fulfil the purists' desires at Euro 2012 is plucked from the realms of fantasy.
Hodgson's late appointment as successor to Fabio Capello meant he had to work fast. He has been at pains to point out both the shortage of time at his disposal and also that friendlies won against Norway and Belgium were very much "preparatory" in nature.
They served Hodgson well as England took the organisation and resilience from those 1-0 victories into the sweltering conditions of the Donbass Arena to emerge more or less unscathed against France.
And while it may not please fans of the beautiful game, it was essential England did not leave Donetsk defeated in their first game so it was understandable that it was regarded a mission more or less accomplished.
England will undoubtedly require more against Sweden in Kiev's Olympic Stadium but the opposition and the confidence gained from the opening game may well give them the platform - there's that word again - to blossom and offer proof that they can take a game by the scruff of the neck and dominate.
Hodgson's squad have made it clear they buy into his methods. He is carrying his players with him. and captain Steven Gerrard said: "From what I've seen there is an eagerness to get out on the training pitch and take Roy's ideas on. Everyone respects the manager's ideas and everyone is excited and determined to do well at this tournament."
The circumstances Hodgson inherited have also shaped his approach. He has been without his most gifted attacking influence as Wayne Rooney serves a two-game suspension and central midfield options were removed with injuries to Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry.
Rooney - looking eager and bursting with energy as well as a savage new haircut in the Hutnik downpour - is a player who can take Hodgson's tactical plan to another dimension when he returns for the final group game against co-hosts Ukraine.
Hodgson agreed as he said: "Our real ace in the hole should be Wayne because he is very fit and raring to go. He really can't wait to get on the field and if he can play like Wayne Rooney, then we're going to be a bit more difficult to beat for some of these teams because you can only benefit from having someone of his quality in your team."
He is also working without Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, who would have provided creation in midfield, as well as with an England squad he is still getting to know in a rush because of time constraints imposed by the date of his appointment.
So Hodgson would be within his rights to claim mitigating circumstances for the approach so far and his selection of Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a hugely positive sign, even if the gifted attacker was forced to fulfil the role revealed by Jamie Carragher, who played under the manager at Liverpool, when he said of his wide men: "He doesn't want them getting chalk on their boots."
Hodgson accepts England's transition from defence to attack has, at times, been unconvincing - thus adding to the perception of a team set up by their manager as defensive counter-punchers and a view perpetuated by Blanc and Evra.
He knows more is needed in the final third as he said: "Once or twice, especially in the first half, there were some very promising counter-attacks and they broke down because we tried a one-touch pass to finish it off rather than taking that extra touch."
All the early signs under Hodgson have been promising. The much-talked about "platform" has been set and he will hoping to assemble some more of the permanent structure against Sweden on Friday.