For a player who ought to have arrived in South Africa in prime physical and psychological condition, Wayne Rooney has been the source of a lot of thunderclaps in the past few weeks.
From his verbal outburst on Monday evening, to the warnings delivered by his lawyers to the distributors of an unauthorised biography which actually praises him, Rooney exudes rage. England need peak and all they seem to get is pique.
The opposition sense an opportunity. The United States central defender Jay DeMerit, who will probably see more of Rooney (pictured) than most in the 44,000 capacity Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday evening, said: “If he brings that stuff out in the way we play against him then that's good. You try to make his day difficult and if a guy has as much fire as he has then maybe those things come out.”
It has been a return of the temperamental side which seemed to have been drummed out of Rooney by Fabio Capello - “a fearsome man” as he once described the manager.
Before the friendly against Slovakia at Wembley 15 months ago Capello described Rooney as a “crazy, crazy man”
No-one with England's interests at heart needs reminding of the wretched day in Gelsenkirchen, against the Portuguese in England's last World Cup finals encounter, when the short fuse cost England most dear.
Some have tried to keep him in line — most notably David Beckham, at Windsor Park during the defeat to Northern Ireland five years ago when the two of them wound up squaring up to each other — but now, in a side robbed first of its captain and then its vice captain, no-one, least of all Steven Gerrard, seems ready to take up that role.
John Terry and Rio Ferdinand both asserted that there would be no temperamental problem with Rooney.
“In the last two or three years I honestly do feel that he has grown up a lot and I think at times like that we could have done with a bit more of that (aggression) in the first-half [in Moruleng],” said Terry.
It is now a case of wait and see.