The Euro 2020 hangover has finally evaporated.
After England came within a couple of penalties from triumphing in a major international tournament for the first time 1966, several of Gareth Southgate’s favourites were among the most-popular players ahead of the new Dream Team season.
The likes of Luke Shaw (£2.4m), Jordan Pickford (£1.8m) and Raheem Sterling (£4.2m) were widely selected but it soon became apparent that their international form had not translated to the club arena.
Man United’s left-back in particular has been a bitter disappointment for Dream Team bosses having mustered just 12 points overall.
However, the cloud seems to have lifted in regards to Sterling, who has quietly been one of the most in-form midfield assets over the last four Game Weeks.
Man City’s No7 scored his 100th Premier League goal on Saturday when he converted a penalty against Wolves, a strike that proved to be the winner.
Sterling has now scored five goals in his last eight games during a purple patch that has gone a long way to making up for his limited returns in the first third of the campaign.
The 27-year-old had just 13 points by his tenth appearance of the season and that lean spell extended to 18 points from 14 outings.
However, his goal against Club Brugge in Game Week 10 prompted an upturn that has produced 45 points in eight games.
Sterling now has 63 points overall, putting him within one goal of possibly breaching the top ten in his position.
His milestone goal at the weekend allowed him overtake team-mates Ilkay Gundogan (£4.2m) and Phil Foden (£5.4m) in the rankings, though he is still some way off Bernardo SIlva (£3.8m) and Riyad Mahrez (£5.7m), who have 89 points and 94 points respectively.
All the usual caveats apply of course: Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy, the potential for limited minutes, changeable form, etc.
But Man City’s fixtures look very favourable for the rest of the month: Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester and Brentford.
Even the Foxes, the strongest opponent on paper, have conceded 27 goals this season – only four teams have a worse defensive record at this stage.
Experienced Dream Team gaffers will be aware of Sterling’s sizeable potential when at his best.
He was the overall top points scorer the season before last, when he scored 31 goals in 52 games in all competitions.
All those who rushed to transfer Sterling out during the first third of the season may now be considering a reversal of strategy.