He and the players have been working hard ever since on reconnecting both on and off the pitch, but he knows the process will only be completed if they can win in Moscow and reach the last eight, the generally accepted minimum requirement at this tournament.
Yet England's extensive preparations, which have been formally ongoing since March and have been a daily feature of their sessions at their Zelenogorsk base camp, have left him full of belief that he should be on Gareth Southgate's list of takers.
He has been practising penalties and certainly there were no problems against Panama.
"He's desperate to support us but I think his focus needs to be with his family at this time", Southgate added.
"We're aware the margins are going to be really fine in these knockout phases. I thought they had the better controlled possession, and the better chances in the first half", said Soutgate.
Waistcoat sales at a leading British retailer are booming thanks to England coach Gareth Southgate, whose immaculate dress sense at the World Cup has won praise from fashionistas.
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Central defender Sanchez will be directly up against the England captain and, while Alli was reluctant to discuss the few areas in which the former Ajax Amsterdam player can be exposed, he believes Kane will come out on top.
The conclusions have included the speed at which England take penalties - an average 0.28 seconds response time from when the referee blows his whistle - to being trapped in a decades-long cycle of failure. "That gives the team the best chance".
Passion and excitement for the national team has waned in recent years, thanks in no small part to a group-stage exit at the last World Cup and the galling Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland.
Rashford said he would be willing to put his hand up, as did Dele Alli when he was asked on Saturday.
"I don't think we lost any momentum".
He said: "We are trying to psychologically prepare the team, get them in the right moment". For some of them, this will be one of the biggest games they'll have been involved in. "We are excited and enjoying the World Cup", he said.
"The English are a country with a lot of history, they are very structured, they have players with important offensive power and they have shown in this competition, tactically, a very well worked team".