Joe Cole has revealed that Fabio Capello is keeping his England players guessing as to who will start Saturday's World Cup opener against the United States.
Cole is one of several players unsure over the places in the starting line-up ahead of the Group C curtain raiser in Rustenburg.
Unlike previous England managers, Capello is keeping his selection cards close to his chest and Cole believes his policy ensures the 23-man squad in South Africa remains on its toes.
"The great thing about the squad now, which is different to all through my England career, is that you don't know who the manager is going to pick in any position, so it keeps everyone on their toes," he explained.
"I've always found at club level when that is the case – when players are not just playing on reputation and are being selected on form, fitness and temperament – that's when you get the better team ethic and the way the team gels together.
"Fabio is a great manager. I've been lucky to work with some great managers and he is right up there with the best of them.
"You need discipline. It keeps us all on our toes. The discipline is very strong and I think that has worked well and we need that."
Capello will keep his starting line-up under wraps until Saturday afternoon but the Italian appears to have selection dilemmas in almost every position.
Any one of Robert Green, David James and Joe Hart could be selected as his starting goalkeeper, while the battle to partner Wayne Rooney up front could be won by Steven Gerrard in a supporting role or a regular striker in Peter Crouch or Emile Heskey.
"It's great with England there is a lot of competition in the squad," added Cole.
"There aren't 10 lads coming here thinking they're just going to sit on the bench. Everyone in the squad is thinking they have a chance of playing here."