So the Rio heroes are back home after two halcyon weeks that have taken us closer than anything to a golden sporting summer.

We’ve had our challenges over the past few months, that’s for sure. Amid the turmoil of Brexit; summer floods and the pound plunging, one of the few consolations has been the consistent playing of the national anthem and the fluttering Union Jack flying high above many bigger and powerful rivals.

Never has second place in a medals standing felt so good.  The pride and passion of our sports folk has given us back a little pride and self-belief.

What a contrast these Olympic heroes have offered to their rich and pampered counterparts from football, although not including Wales and Northern Ireland in that summation. Our men and women of Rio have shown what it means to wear the national flag on your chest.

How different was their attitude to that of some of England’s Euro 2016 footballers in France, who looked as if their minds were on sunny beaches rather than giving everything for the Three Lions. Who cares about gold medals when there’s already enough of it dripping round your neck or on your wrists.

Our Olympians don’t earn hundreds of thousands of pounds every week. For them it’s not so much the financial rewards but the honour of standing on that podium knowing that you’re the best and back home you’ve managed to restore a little bit of pride to a battered nation.

They deserve every penny that comes their way from the lottery, perhaps some of our over-priced footballers should buy a few extra tickets in gratitude.

Whatever the recipe is that makes our Olympic sportsmen and women produce record-breaking, world topping performances, it’s priceless. Judging on recent performances by our feted, TV cash enriched Premier League stars, it’s also unattainable.

One of new England manager Sam Allardyce’s first jobs should be to sit down with his counterparts from UK Sport and find out what their secret is. If he can capture it and convey it to England’s footballers, they may one day regain the respect and gratitude of a nation.