As the pressure builds at both ends of the table, Roy Hodgson got another chance to assess his options ahead of World Cup squad selection.
The England manager was present at the Etihad as he watched his Southampton hopefuls test their wits up against Premier League title favourites Manchester City.
An unfortunate first-half knee injury to Jay Rodriguez has probably put paid to his Brazilian dreams. But, as they say, one door shuts and another opens. And the pool of England’s pretenders will hope that the open doors get easier to walk through.