England are one clean sheet away from equalling their record of six straight shutouts, although former Sheffield United man Phil Jagielka is not reading too much into that statistic after their World Cup failings.
Estonia became the latest country to fall to the Three Lions when Wayne Rooney’s free-kick secured a 1-0 win in Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier.
England have now won all four matches since their disastrous World Cup campaign and have gone five games without conceding.
Another shutout against Slovenia next month will see them equal the record of six consecutive clean sheets set in 2006, but Jagielka knows England cannot afford to get ahead of themselves.
“I think prior to the World Cup the defence was looking pretty good but things didn’t go our way at the World Cup,” he said. “You look at the games we’ve had so far and obviously the Switzerland game was difficult, but we were not expecting to be tested too much on Thursday [San Marino]. We expected to be tested a little bit more in Estonia, but I thought we controlled the majority of the game.
“We’ve not had too many defenders here for the last week, but there’s obviously a few people missing, like Luke Shaw, Glen Johnson, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones. There’s plenty of lads that can come in and throw their hat in the ring. It is competition for places and that can only be a good thing.”
England’s organised defence and their inferior opponents meant Joe Hart this week had just one save to make across 180 minutes.
Fans playfully voted the goalkeeper man of the match in the 5-0 defeat of San Marino and gave him the award again for his display in Estonia.
“Again? That’s fantastic,” Jagielka said with deadpan delivery. “I am delighted for him. He deserves it.”
He added: “I think I helped him out on Thursday giving him a couple of touches to win that.
“It is nice that fans are enjoying themselves and taking away the seriousness of the game. It is good to see Wembley having a good laugh at Joe’s performance on Thursday.”
While humorous, the vote only goes to underline how straightforward qualification looks for England after winning in Switzerland last month.
The top two automatically qualify from Group E and the third-place nation can also reach the finals in France, but Jagielka rejected notion motivation is hard in a group also including Slovenia and Lithuania.
“We all know we are there to be shot down,” he said. “We want to keep as many clean sheets as we can for as many games as we can.
“I am sure the forwards want to score as many goals as they can, so, no, it is not hard to get yourself up for it.
“If you do make mistakes, there is strength in depth in every single position and before you know it you can lose your place in the team.”