Fabio Capello hailed the Wembley crowd for helping axed skipper John Terry get over his England heartache.
Terry was reduced to the role of foot soldier in the 3-1 win over Egypt last night, the first time he has been in that position since 2006, following the high-profile disruption in his life recently.
When he stripped Terry of the captaincy he cherished so dearly, Capello also stressed the defender remained an integral part of his plans for this summer's World Cup in South Africa and needed to know the fans were on his side.
After some early booing, the England supporters rallied to Terry's aid and by the final whistle were treating the Chelsea star to their usual enthusiastic reception.
"Thank you to the crowd," said Capello.
"They supported the team and John Terry. This was a most important game for him after what happened outside the pitch.
"He played a fantastic game, like I know he can. When I chose him as captain I knew the value of him as a player."
Terry was pleased that the crowd's reaction to him improved during the match.
Terry said on BBC Radio Five Live: "The way they supported me tonight and got behind me was fantastic, I really appreciate that.
"Obviously there were a few jeers but I can handle that and they're fully entitled to their opinion.
"I think what they saw tonight was we have a real chance of going there and causing some problems in the World Cup, because Egypt are a very good side."
Terry was the stand-out performer in a shaky defensive unit, which allowed the newly-crowned African Nations Cup winners to take a first-half lead through Mohamed Zidan.
But the introduction of Peter Crouch at half-time helped to change the course of the contest.
After the Tottenham striker had steered home Gareth Barry's low cross to pull England level, another impressive substitute, Shaun Wright-Phillips, put the hosts in front.
Wright-Phillips then set up a second goal for Crouch who took his overall international tally to an eye-catching 20 in 37 games.
Although there have been times when Capello has not seemed overly impressed by Crouch's distinctive style, the Italian cannot ignore such an impressive scoring record and offered warm praise for the match-winning contribution.
"Peter Crouch is in good form," said Capello.
"He played very well. All the team played a good game.
"Crouch is one of the important players and he has played a lot of matches for me.
"But I wanted to see what happens with Rooney and Defoe today. I know what happens when Rooney is with Crouch and Heskey and Carlton Cole. It is important for the World Cup to see how they can play together."
By the time England are next in action, against Mexico in May, Capello will have named his provisional squad and an expectant nation will dream of hailing the men who emulate the heroes of 1966.
"A lot of countries want to win the World Cup," shrugged Capello.
"We will try."Reuse content