Fabio Capello will name his England squad on Sunday night, as England’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2012 gets underway next week.
England have been drawn in Group G alongside Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales, and Montenegro.
Bulgaria visit Wembley on Friday 3 September before England travel to Basel to face Switzerland on Tuesday 7 September.
Capello dropped over half of his World Cup squad for last month’s friendly win over Hungary and must now decide which young players to stand by and which more senior faces to recall.
The Italian’s easiest decisions are probably in goal, where Joe Hart will continue as number one, with Ben Foster returning as one of two deputies after he was forced out of the Hungary game through injury.
Paul Robinson also pulled out of that squad, although for altogether different reasons. He announced his retirement from international football, and his place in the squad will most likely go to Rob Green.
Despite the West Ham ‘keeper’s shaky start to the season, Capello has precious few other options, although West Brom’s Scott Carson is another option.
In defence, England captain Rio Ferdinand is still at least two weeks away from a first-team return at Old Trafford. Capello looks set to go with the same four centre-backs as he did against Hungary in John Terry, Michael Dawson, Phil Jagielka, and Gary Cahill.
Joleon Lescott and Ryan Shawcross remain outside bets for inclusion.
Glen Johnson remains England’s first-choice right-back almost by default after the international retirement of Wes Brown last month.
Micah Richards looks set to have to wait longer still for his first cap since 2007, as he has once again been named in the under-21 squad.
An injury to Johnson might force Capello’s hand, but for now, Jagielka will most likely provide cover for the right fullback position.
Kieran Gibbs, despite not featuring in either of Arsenal’s first two league games, is expected to keep out Leighton Baines once again as understudy to Ashley Cole at left-back.
Theo Walcott showed flashes of potential in the first-half of England’s win over Hungary last month, and his hat-trick against Blackpool last week should keep him at the forefront of Capello’s mind.
The experienced midfield trio of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Gareth Barry will be retained, as will the latter’s new Manchester City teammate James Milner, who will continue to give Capello options across the midfield.
Adam Johnson should complete a trio of midfielders from Manchester City, but a recall is unlikely for Shaun Wright-Phillips, with Aaron Lennon more likely to be brought back into the squad after a bright start to the season at White Hart Lane.
Jack Wilshere, like Micah Richards, has also been named in the under-21 squad, so there is a possibility for a recall for either Tom Huddlestone or Michael Carrick in central midfield.
The current Spurs player is a favourite over the former Spurs man, as Carrick has yet to take to the pitch in either of Manchester United’s two Premier League games this season.
Ashley Young should retain his place in the squad, ahead of club teammate Stewart Downing.
Up front, Capello will be under pressure to recall either one of both Tottenham front pair Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch after they fired their club into the Champions League for the first time earlier this week.
Andy Carroll was linked with a call-up after his hat-trick against Aston Villa last Sunday, but the Newcastle man has also been included in the under-21 selection.
In spite of not scoring since March, Wayne Rooney will naturally be retained, but Carlton Cole will find his place most under threat, with Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora both set to make the cut once more.