Green and Barry on road to recovery
World Cup 2010: Rustenburg
Robert Green's work was not being done under the icy gaze of an expectant nation - but he was literally the focus of attention as England got back to World Cup business at their Rustenberg base.
Goalkeeper Green spent Sunday taking his frustrations out on a golf ball at the Lost City course at Sun City, the night after the calamitous error that allowed Clint Dempsey to equalise for the United States in England's opener.
Green, as a result, is now a central character in England's World Cup plot and his every move on the training pitch was followed by the cameras perched pitchside.
And a few yards away coach Fabio Capello, who was the subject of the first serious criticism of his reign after the 1-1 draw, was monitoring another member of his squad who he hopes will play a pivotal role in this South African story.
Gareth Barry, virtually Capello's security blanket when it comes to his tactical approach, was stepping up his fitness as he attempts to fight his way into contention for England's next clash with Algeria on Friday evening.
England's goalkeeper for that game will once again be the subject of fevered speculation as Capello shows no signs of ditching the policy of revealing his team to the players only two hours before kick-off.
Capello appears unmoved by the possibility that this waiting game, and his failure to decide on his first-choice keeper, may have resulted in Green being over-anxious amid the pressure of his first World Cup experience.
The feeling around England's camp on Monday was that Capello may be prepared to stick with Green rather than twist against the Algerians.
The logic behind this is that to drop Green now would effectively kill his World Cup stone dead - and put Capello in a position where he might have to do something similar if Joe Hart or David James suffer the same misfortune. In other words, one strike and out.
Goalkeepers, arguably more than anyone else because of the precarious and game-changing nature of their position, benefit from knowing a manager trusts them. Capello's obvious reluctance to declare his preferred choice gave exactly the opposite impression.
For the record, Green's handling was impeccable in the open part of England's training session, working with goalkeeping coach Franco Tancredi. He shared laughs with rivals Hart and James, then received full backing from his team-mates via the words of Jamie Carragher.
Capello will be assessing every aspect of Green's work between now and Friday - and will be doing the same with Manchester City's Barry, a player he has made almost indispensible to his plans.
Barry is hardly going to burst into England's headquarters declaring "The Big Man's Back In Town", as Wayne Rooney did after he was declared fit for the last World Cup - but there is no doubt Capello will rest a lot easier once he has him available for selection.
The Italian's desire to have Barry on board the plane for South Africa was illustrated by his willingess to wait until the last possible moment before confirming his fitness after an ankle injury suffered playing for Manchester City against Spurs last month.
And after England's performance in Saturday's draw, lacking rhythm, tempo and too often careless in possession, Capello will surely recall the player he has made his midfield anchor at the first opportunity.
Owen Hargreaves was the identikit for this role, but in his absence Capello has used Barry as the player who allows his midfield flexibility while also providing a screen for England's occasionally vulnerable defence.
He will give Capello's side the sort of shape he likes. He can then utilise Steven Gerrard elsewhere, probably shifted to the left, and give Frank Lampard more attacking licence.
In a team full of high-profile personalities, it will be the return of one of its more low-key individuals that Capello will hopes sparks England into life after a few mediocre months.
The sight of Rooney retreating from England's main training group to head for the sanctuary of a swimming pool to nurse an ankle injury added to the current sense of deflation - but the problem is not thought to be serious and every indication is he will take his place against Algeria.
The mood within England's camp remains upbeat, despite the failure to start the campaign with a win. Germany's performance in victory against Australia apparently captured much attention within the squad as they swiftly put the usual hints that they are a spent force to bed.
England players are still confident they will qualify from Group C - and rightly so. Capello will be in similar mood, particularly if he can call on his unsung hero Barry.