Upbeat Hodgson can guide England deep into Euros
Euro 2012: Donetsk
Roy Hodgson stopped short of asking the nation to dare to dream of winning Euro 2012 - but there is no doubt England's manager is warming to his task and alive to subtle increases in expectation.
Hodgson may have raised an eyebrow, even two, when the chairman of the Football Association's international committee, Sir Dave Richards, suggested the 64-year-old had "a Midas touch".
But it is easy to detect a significant switch in mood around England's squad and Hodgson is clearly hopeful of transforming a position of promise into a place in Euro 2012's last eight by securing at least a point against co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk's Donbass Arena.
It will be no easy task against the co-hosts, who need victory to sustain their own hopes of progression and will be backed by fervent and colourful support in the biggest match in Ukraine's history.
As Hodgson removed his England tracksuit to combat more fierce temperatures in Donetsk - conditions should be near perfect for the 9.45pm local time kick-off on Tuesday - he was hardly feeling any of the heat normally associated with the position he now holds in succession to Fabio Capello.
Of course all this could change in the space of one result but Hodgson's current comfort with his role was emphasised when he used a word not regularly associated with England's manager. Enjoyment.
While England's players had an alarming 20-minute wobble when they went 2-1 down before coming from behind to beat Sweden, Hodgson earned top marks for getting the big calls right. Andy Carroll's selection was rewarded with a goal while the introduction of substitute Theo Walcott helped change a potentially damaging defeat into a vital victory.
If a striker gains confidence from scoring a crucial goal or a goalkeeper from making a vital save, then Hodgson should be in buoyant mood after two managerial decisions proved significantly successful.
Hodgson, when asked if he was on a roll, replied: "I suppose I feel on a roll because I've found it such an enjoyable job to do. To work with this group of players has been a privilege. I knew it was going to be a privilege because when you're given the job of England manager you can't deny the privilege aspect.
"I've also enjoyed the professional way they have gone about their business. When you take on a national team you perhaps take on more egos that you do in a club team, but that hasn't been a factor at all so I suppose in that respect I'm feeling good about the job.
"I'm feeling good about the way the players have played but I am also more than aware that there are going to be plenty of hurdles in front of us, not lease the ones against Ukraine, and I'm aware that defeats do occur in football and sometimes when you least want them."
Hodgson is not uneasy with the slight ratcheting up of aspirations about England - but he admits to a preference to doing his work in the shadows and away from a burden of expectation.
He said: "It's nicer to work in a position where no-one expects too much from you, no-one is asking a lot from you, and you maybe have the confidence to think 'I can prove these people wrong' and 'I can show you that I do know what I'm doing'.
"Once people are giving you praise, you get concerned because then you get worried that you're going to let them down."
Hodgson did add though: "We have come here with the England national team. We believe in ourselves and we want to do well. In some ways it's rather nice that people back home are hoping and even believing we can do well and we're giving them something to dream about and cling to."
The new, inclusive atmosphere away from the more austere regime favoured by Capello can be noticed in the way Hodgson often brings captain Steven Gerrard in on his answers, asking the 32-year-old's opinion.
And while it is no love-in or mutual appreciation society, there is no doubt that - irrespective of what happens in the Donbass Arena on Tuesday - a body of evidence is mounting that England's players are buying into Hodgson's methods.
There were also words of warning from Hodgson as he reminded everyone that he is a football manager, not King Midas, and knows the small wave of optimism around England could yet come crashing down amid the heat and hostility of Donetsk on Tuesday.
"We would all be disappointed if the game didn't go our way and we had to take the plane home," said Hodgson. "There would be an enormous amount of disappointment and dissatisfaction. We believe we have done enough to go on, but Holland thought they could and Russia thought they could.
"It is naive to believe that just because you are able to do it and want to do it that it will be enough."
It will be the biggest test of Hodgson's tenure so far, but when an England manager admits he is enjoying the job it reflects the current climate in the camp, and that has to be a good omen.