England stumbled their way to a 2-1 win in their opening match at the European Under-21 Championships in Sweden on Monday – a victory which owed much to boss Stuart Pearce.
Pearce was brave enough to switch his formation at the break with England down to 10 men after the dismissal of Michael Mancienne.
England had taken the lead through Lee Cattermole, but after Mancienne was caught out by Berat Sadik – the Chelsea man brought him down for a penalty – England looked far from the classy outfit expected at the finals.
But to England’s credit they dug in and showed plenty of grit and determination to kick-off with a win courtesy of Micah Richards’ powerful second-half header.
However it was as much Stuart Pearce’s tactical bravery as Richards’ finish which forced England over the line.
Pearce opted to axe senior star Theo Walcott at the break in favour of partnering Gabriel Agbonlahor with Fraizer Campbell and his switch did the trick.
England looked more of an attacking threat with two men down the middle rather than the three-pronged attack of Walcott, Agbonlahor and James Milner which started the game.
It could be suggested it was a change that was forced on Pearce after the sending off of Mancienne, but it was still a brave move to take off Walcott – with many pundits expected the Arsenal man to be one of the players of the tournament.
Pearce was honest after the game, he said: "We've showed courage.
"We're oozing courage, oozing commitment and oozing character - that's what we have got."
But when asked if that display was good enough to win the tournament, he added: "A million miles away from it.
"They know it. They're genuine, they're honest - that's why they've turned around a situation, down to 10 men, and gone and won it.
"They're oozing character - they've shown that many, many times before to me. That's what we've got in abundance.
"What we need to show is more ability. That performance, for this standard of team, wasn't good enough. They know it before I even tell them.
"We have to improve on that. I've got three points, I'm pleased. I'm delighted with the points. We need to get better than that and we are better than that."