Having successfully qualified for Poland and Ukraine next summer and with Wayne Rooney banned for all three group games, Fabio Capello has some tough decisions ahead of him for his final squad selection in charge of England.
A lot can happen in the eight months leading to the finals, players can earn or lose their place in the squad and experienced players may be dropped in place of exciting youngsters coming through in England at the moment.
The first controversial point is that Rooney has got to go to the finals even though he won’t play the first three games, you can’t leave your best player at home.
If England draw Spain, France or Holland in the knock-out stages, the Manchester United striker could be the difference between victory or defeat.
Some would say that if the side for the group stages plays well enough then it should not be changed, but even to have Rooney on the bench to come on for the last 30 minutes could be vital.
There is a list of players that could start in place of Rooney, but none seem to fit the bill with everyone.
Capello could change to a 4-4-2 system and bring in two from Darren Bent, Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll but that would mean losing an influential midfielder.
Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge may also warrant an inclusion if he keeps up his good club form, but it may come too soon for the likes of Connor Wickham who have impressed for the Under-21’s.
Other youngsters that have put their case forward are the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who will have another six months experience before the squad is announced and may well be on the plane to Eastern Europe.
What could this mean for the experienced players that have doubts surrounding their future at international level?
Frank Lampard has already been dropped for two qualifiers, but has found some club form that could result in a recall in the next friendly game.
Rio Ferdinand has been plagued with injury over the past 12 months and with plenty of competition from the before mention Jones and Smalling along with Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Michael Dawson.
Gareth Barry and Scott Parker have filled the midfield position in the past few games but with Lampard’s return to form and Steven Gerrard’s comeback from injury there are yet more decisions for Mr Capello to make.
Jordan Henderson has captained the under 21’s in recent games but has major competition for places on the wings with the likes of Stewart Downing, Ashley Young, Theo Walcott and James Milner who will all need to prove their worth in friendly’s leading up to the finals.
As was said, a lot can happen between now and the tournament and so injuries will no doubt rule players out and some players will come from nowhere and earn a call up for what could be a great chance for England to prove the critics wrong.