Much of this battle for the central midfield spots will depend on Gareth Barry’s recovery from his recently sustained ankle injury.
If the Manchester City man has adequately recovered, then he will make the cut along with one of these one.
If he doesn’t, then two of the above look likely to travel to South Africa.
Three months ago Carrick looked a shoo-in as a regular starter in Manchester United’s midfield. However, a dip in form at the most crucial stage of the season saw him eventually start on the substitute’s bench for each of United’s last seven Premier League games.
Carrick remains a regular member of Capello’s England set up but has only won six caps in the Italian’s 22 games in charge so far. It remains to be seen if he has fallen down the pecking order on the international scene as well as the club one.
Tom Huddlestone enjoyed his best ever season, playing a major role in securing a fourth-place finish for Tottenham, and comes into the World Cup warm-up games as one of the form players in the country, certainly in terms of central midfield.
The Spurs man won his one and only cap to date as a late substitute against Brazil last November, but he looks set to get more chances in the games against Mexico and Japan this coming week.
Scott Parker has only won three caps since making his debut back in 2003, but has forced his way into the preliminary squad after a series of sterling displays in the West Ham midfield that lead to them retaining their Premier League status.
In terms of options for Capello, Carrick boasts the experience, having been to the 2006 World Cup and played in two Champions League Finals for Manchester United since.
However, both Huddlestone and Parker edge him in terms of form at present.
Huddlestone lacks mobility but has a terrific passing repertoire as well as outstanding technique.
Parker probably offers the best defensive options of the three, reinventing himself as a tough-tackling midfielder which may well boost his chances against two players who are more reactive in terms of defensive work.
James Milner’s transformation into a central midfielder has also affected the chances of these three meaning that only one is likely to go if Barry is declared fit.
If, on the other hand, Barry is ruled out then it suddenly becomes a much different picture with a place in the starting XI alongside Frank Lampard potentially up for grabs.
Chances of making the final 23: Carrick 50 percent/Huddlestone 30 percent/Parker 20 percent