Gareth Barry wants England to finish their European Championship qualifying campaign in style to boost confidence ahead of next year's finals.
England will win Group G provided they do not lose in Montenegro on Friday, though a defeat could leave Fabio Capello's team facing a play-off.
But despite an unbeaten qualifying run, Barry admits performances must improve.
"If we can get a victory, the confidence going into the European Championships will be higher," he said.
"We qualified in great style for the World Cup and our performances there weren't brilliant. Hopefully our performance in the European Championships can be better."
England cruised though qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, winning nine of their 10 matches to top their group by six points, losing only once and scoring 34 goals.
But a disastrous tournament in South Africa followed as England were knocked out by Germany at the last-16 stage.
Barry acknowledged England's qualifying campaign has stuttered at times - a narrow win at home against Wales and draws with Montenegro (0-0) and Switzerland (2-2) at Wembley overshadowing convincing victories away from home.
But Capello's squad top Group G with 17 points to Montenegro's 11.
Montenegro can overturn the deficit if they beat England at the City Stadium, then go on to win in Switzerland on 11 October - a scenario that would put England into second position and a two-legged play-off with a team from another group for a place in the finals in Poland and Ukraine next summer.
"We were hoping that the group would have been won by now. It hasn't worked out that way but it's in our own hands," added Barry.
"It's a massive game. When the fixtures came out we knew Montenegro away was going to be a tough fixture.
"We know it's going to be tough. They kept us out at Wembley and will be up for it in their home city. But we go there confident."
Barry denied that either the spectre of England's South Africa campaign or criticism of his own performances will impact on confidence levels in the Montenegro match and said that if England secure qualification they can then turn their attention to learning lessons from previous failures.
"If games don't go to plan that's what can happen but you don't have to worry about it or it affects your performance," he commented.
"You can never take your place for granted. If you are not performing at a high level you expect criticism and someone is there to take your place.
"I'm sure there are a few from the World Cup who can help us when we travel to the European Championships."
Barry was promoting a mobile cancer awareness unit funded by England players. They are donating their match fees to Cancer Research UK via the England Footballers Foundation.