For the senior England team, 2017 was 'job done' in terms of World Cup qualification and, although it was a slow, grinding process at times, the year ended with a clutch of positives.
Firstly, the nerveless displays of the young players that Gareth Southgate drafted into his squad for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil gave cause for optimism ahead of Russia 2018.
Although their step up to the senior squad was accelerated due to injuries it fitted the pattern that Southgate and the FA have been trying to establish over the past few years, the success of which was shown gloriously in 2017 with the triumphs of England’s age-group sides in European and World competition.
Secondly, although it could be setting us up for a monumental fall, England’s group stage draw for the World Cup finals was as kind as it could possibly have been.
Opening up with games against Tunisia and Panama means that, without in any way taking the opposition for granted, last-16 qualification should surely be secured by the time England take on Belgium.