Rooney and Gerrard make Fabio smile
Wayne Rooney brings out the comedian in Fabio Capello - whether he is talking about the "crazy man" who saw red at Fulham or the "crazy joker" in the pack who can be England's World Cup wildcard.
And Capello had plenty of reasons to smile and indulge in his own brand of wise-cracking in Wembley's basement after Rooney displayed all the positives contained within his unique football package as Slovakia were dismissed by England.
Capello's Slovakian counterpart Vladimir Weiss, who once fell victim to a fledgling Paul Gascoigne when playing for Czechoslovakia at Wembley in 1990, admitted his side had been given "a slap behind the ear."
Rooney delivered the decisive slaps - but in a good way as opposed to the blows he rained down in rage at a Craven Cottage corner flag. He was, like England's new kit, whiter than white.
Slovakia were perfect cannon fodder for England to work over ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on Wednesday, but in Rooney and Steven Gerrard Capello had two players who would have excelled against any opposition.
If Capello's main objective from this dress rehearsal for Ukraine was to get Rooney to banish the bad memories of Fulham and confirm Gerrard's position within his emerging and more fluid England set-up, then this was very much mission accomplished.
And for the 45 minutes they were together before Gerrard was withdrawn, the pair were playing a game on a different plane from any others at Wembley.
Gerrard was nominally England's man on the left flank, but this was virtually reduced to a technicality as he instantly wandered inside to great effect - and when he left his station Rooney was often the man drawn automatically to the space he vacated.
They provided a constant source of danger and invention for England, from the moment Gerrard set up Emile Heskey's opener to virtually the last kick of the game when Rooney rounded off a deserved 4-0 win.
Capello was effusive as he is ever likely to get after the game - describing Rooney as England's "joker card...a crazy joker."
It was a remark that brought laughs - but there was a serious side to the argument because you knew exactly what Capello meant.
Rooney is a free spirit. An untamed talent. There is a dark side to this personality, but when it is a force for good it can be unstoppable.
Capello is not a coach to build a side around a single player, so Gerrard is unlikely to be given the free role he occupies so brilliantly at Liverpool. But the Italian, ever the pragmatist, may have finally have found the solution to a midfield conundrum that often eluded his predecessors.
It relies on tactical discipline from Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry allied to intelligence and flexibility from Rooney and Gerrard - all qualities amply contained within that quartet.
Capello is wise enough to know it would be a criminal waste of Gerrard's world-class talent to restrict him to some basic up-and-down left-wing role, so the trick is to utilise his gifts within England's game plan.
And here, for 45 minutes at least, it looked like Capello and Gerrard had come up with a solution that might just suit England all the way to South Africa.
It remains to be seen whether it works against less compliant opposition than Slovakia - has Martin Skrtel ever looked as utterly hopeless as this playing for Liverpool? - but Capello was clearly a satisfied man as he conducted his after-match inquest.
Rooney, despite some justified criticism of his behaviour, has shown growing maturity for England under Capello and he was at the centre of everything for 90 minutes.
England's win must be placed in the context of the opposition. Capello, correctly, will not be carried away and Ukraine will provide a more reliable measure of England's effectiveness.
If anyone is tempted to talk England up too much - and no-one within the camp is guilty of it - then the defeat in Spain can act as the reality check.
David Beckham embraced the history books when he emerged as a second-half substitute to win his 109th cap, a record for an outfield player. He showed the trademark glimpses of quality on the ball, setting up Rooney's first goal with a perfect cross.
Capello appears to prefer Beckham as an impact substitute, but there is undoubtedly much the improving Aaron Lennon could learn from the former captain about end product.
Lennon may get the start against Ukraine, but those of us who wrote Beckham off after watching his tear-stained farewell as captain in Germany in 2006 received further evidence that he is not going quietly.
It was not all plain sailing for England - particularly as strikers dropped like flies to leave Capello nursing a potential headache for Wednesday's Wembley encounter with Ukraine.
Heskey, Carlton Cole and Peter Crouch all went lame, but Capello's blunt dismissal of the suggestion that Michael Owen could return carried an ominous air for the man who was England's most reliable marksman not so long ago.
If we are nit-picking, and you can bet Capello is, there were two glaring moments of defensive slackness that saw England bailed out by two fine first-half saves from David James.
But Rooney's brilliance, plus a partnership with Gerrard that was almost telepathic at times, was more than enough to compensate for any minor complaints Capello may have about an emphatic performance.