England have dusted themselves down after Qatar and are about to get back on the horse, the pain of the World Cup behind them. Different Players used different coping mechanisms to move on. Some self-analysed to the point of obsession, others wallowed in misery.
For Jack Grealish the rehabilitation process entailed wolfing down buckets of ice cream and re-enacting Home Alone 2 around Manhattan in a horse-drawn carriage. “I love that film, man, I've watched it so many times. It's on every Christmas isn't it so I watch it four or five times each time,” said Grealish.
“I stayed in the same hotel. You could get some mad room service, like 16 scoops of ice cream like he got in the film. Someone had told me about the tour, so we went round Central Park.
“I was in the back of the carriage thing and every now and again someone would say: 'I swear that's Jack Grealish'. I was saying: 'Mate! Quick! Speed up!'
“I loved it. My mum’s always made Christmas so special for me growing up, so I’ve always loved Christmas and I’ve always wanted to go to New York around Christmas time, but, obviously, because of football we’ve never been able to. It was like a little bucket list moment.”
The Home Alone Sundae at the Plaza Hotel - whipped cream, cherries, brownie bits, caramel and raspberry sauce - as well as the 16 scoops was not the diet of champions and he suffered for his week of indulgence with his girlfriend Sasha on his return to Manchester City.
“I think the manager gave us eight or nine days off. I didn't actually do a lot of running or anything because I just felt I needed a little break. Then I went back into training on the Wednesday and we were playing Liverpool on the Thursday in the (Carabao) Cup,” he said.
“I thought: 'There's no chance I'll be involved.' Then in the f***ing 70th minute he tells me: 'Jack, you're going on.' I was like: 'F***ing hell!' because I was blowing out of my a**e! Luckily we went on to win.”
Pep Guardiola quickly forgave his fun-loving wide man, starting him in Manchester City’s last nine league games. He is playing his best football since his £100million signing from Aston Villa.
“I think it’s confidence, really,” he said. “At the moment, I just feel a bit like I did when I was at Aston Villa. I feel like one of the main Players, and I feel the fittest I have been, especially since I have been at Man City.
“That comes down to playing a lot of games on the bounce and playing in big games. He (Guardiola) is trusting me in big games. And I do feel I have repaid him and done well. I think that is why he is keeping me in the team.”