Theo Walcott believes he has proved that he deserves to go to the FIFA World Cup™ on merit this time - after his surprise trip to Germany in 2006.
The Arsenal winger was the shock inclusion in Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad four years ago. At the time, the 17-year-old had never played in the Premier League, although he was bizarrely given a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger, who had snapped him up from Southampton.
In an attempt to justify his selection, Eriksson insisted Walcott's pace could be vital as an impact substitute. Yet, as it turned out, the teenager did not kick a ball in Germany as England were knocked out in the quarter-finals on penalties by Portugal.
This time Walcott, now 21, insists he has come of age. He said: "It's nice to get the chance to play and to deserve to play. I didn't deserve to play or to be in the squad at all in 2006. I'd not played in the Premier League and it's just not heard of."
The immense promise Walcott showed during his Southampton days seemed to have reached some kind of fulfilment at the start of last season, when he famously scored a hat-trick against Croatia in Zagreb.
It marked the end of Fabio Capello's experimentation work and proved to be the start of England's smooth passage to the World Cup in South Africa. But for Walcott, problems were just around the corner.
He was forced to pull out of the friendly win over Germany in Berlin a couple of months later after dislocating his shoulder. It was the start of an injury-plagued 12 months, after which Walcott struggled badly to find any sort of form and there were huge doubts as to whether the speedster would even make the squad for a friendly against Egypt in March.
In the end though, Walcott squeezed his way in, then impressed during a decent victory which provided him with enough confidence to launch a late surge into Capello's provisional 30-man party.
Walcott retained his place for Monday night's victory over Mexico, although England's other pacy winger, Aaron Lennon, did came on in the second half to cause a few more problems.
However, Walcott is hoping to be involved against Japan in Austria on Sunday, after which Capello will cut his squad from 30 to 23.
"Hopefully I can play again and have a good game," Walcott said. "I'm just trying to play well and train well and hopefully I'll be in the 23. We're not thinking about competing for places, we just want to get results. For me I just want to train well and if you train well hopefully you get a chance to play. I don't think anyone's place is guaranteed yet so we'll be working hard like we did last week in training in Austria."
Although they do not play in the same style, Mexico were handpicked by Capello as a warm up for the Group C opener against the United States in Rustenburg on 12 June.
To that end, Walcott feels the central American outfit did their job perfectly and the win, even though it was achieved with a performance that was unconvincing at times, was vital for the spirits of both the fans and players.
"Mexico were great opposition," he said. "They kept the ball very well and broke very quickly on the counter attack. It was a good performance and most importantly we got the result for the fans who were fantastic again. I felt very good out there. It's just nice to know I'm featuring again."