David James believes England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has proved to be vital for the national team's long-term success.
Former manager Steve McClaren paid the price for missing out on a place in Austria and Switzerland as he was sacked shortly after the doomed qualification campaign came to an end with defeat to Croatia at Wembley.
Fabio Capello has since been appointed as McClaren's successor and the Italian has made a highly impressive start to his reign, winning eight out of 10 matches.
And in the wake of Wednesday's 2-1 friendly victory in Germany, James - who has proved to be Capello's first-choice goalkeeper - has hailed England's change in fortune.
"Things have come on leaps and bounds since the Croatia game. On reflection, it might have been a better thing that we got beat by Croatia," said James.
"I know it sounds a doom scenario but we could have ended up going to the tournament, not performing well and then employing a new manager who would have had no time to turn things around.
"In that little few months run-in to the World Cup qualifiers, Mr Capello had the chance to look at the players he wanted. He has picked players who weren't fancied before - myself included.
"I am looking at a side now that is full of confidence and arguably an appearance in the Euro 2008 tournament, and a bad performance in the tournament, could have been very detrimental long-term."
James is a big fan of the straight-talking and no-nonsense approach Capello has brought to the England set-up.
The Portsmouth shot-stopper said: "As long as you are prepared to accept criticism when he gives it to you, then fine.
"He is very opinionated and there is no way you are going to go away from a training session not knowing what he wants and that is the best way it can be."