Luke Shaw had waited long enough for this moment.
Having put the graft in to stay clear of injury and become one of the most consistent players in the Manchester United side, a call-up for his first major international tournament since 2014 was richly deserved.
But football is rarely straightforward, and not only did he miss out on a place in the starting lineup for the Croatia game on Sunday but Gareth Southgate opted to instead plump for Kieran Trippier, a player United are keen on signing this summer. His favoured position may be right-back yet he certainly proved himself to be adept on the opposite flank.
All Shaw can do is perform when he is given the opportunity and, having been made to wait 2,551 days for his second England appearance at a World Cup or Euros his third is surely days away after providing some welcome calm in the Wembley pressure cooker.
The ferocious boos that accompanied the teams out of the tunnel will have been particularly startling after a year without supporters in the ground, and there were a few fiery exchanges when play got underway; Chelsea teammates Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour was one of the more surprising clashes.
Be it the atmosphere, the teeming rain or simple the match situation, England were rocked early on with John Stones had to be switched on in the fourth minute to block a goalbound effort from Che Adams.
Southgate’s side retain control of their group but this was a game to bring them back down to earth after the euphoria of beating 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia. Three points against Czech Republic will be enough for them to top the group, although they will need to improve on this stodgy, cautious performance that saw Sterling and Harry Kane isolated for almost the entire game.
Despite England’s toils though, Shaw was an oasis of calm on the left channel: solid defensively, quick to get forward in support and accurate pinging crosses into teammates in the box rather than just aimlessly whipping them in.
Southgate spoke before kick-off about the depth in his full-back department and he isn’t wrong; City’s Kyle Walker didn’t make the 23 having started against Croatia.
For all the flashiness that can be associated with the position in the age of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo, Shaw is no less modern nor excellent as a full-back with his unfussy, dependably good performances.
Should he arrive, Trippier will be an excellent addition to the United squad – able to challenge on either flank and take some of the workload off a defence (and team) that has been flogged over the past two seasons. While the Atletico defender can expect game time though, Shaw showed on England duty why he deserves to start next season as No.1 for his club too