Life seems to have become more straightforward for England boss Fabio Capello ahead of his important clash with Montenegro as Phil Jagielka has been ruled out of the Group G qualifier.
Jagielka produced positive displays at the heart of the England defence in their victories over Bulgaria and Switzerland and it seemed only fair that he kept his place against Montenegro.
However, regular defensive pairing John Terry and Rio Ferdinand had both returned to the squad from injury, leaving Capello with the headache of which two to pick from the three.
After completing training Jagielka complained of a hamstring problem and following scans it has been revealed that the injury is now expected to keep him out of action for six weeks.
With Ferdinand now almost guaranteed to start, Capello’s next conundrum is whether to appoint him as skipper for the Montenegro game.
Ferdinand has hardly represented England since being given the captaincy by Capello and with the belief that his lack of appearances mean he does not warrant the role, there is a strong possibility that Steven Gerrard will again don the armband against Montenegro.
England are 1/5 to beat Montenegro and Capello will be optimistic on the chances of his team keeping a clean sheet.
Chelsea are still to concede a league goal at home this season with Terry at their heart of their defence, while Ferdinand has returned for Manchester United’s last two games and done a notable job of tightening up their leaky back line.
Yet the pair have struggled to play for England at the same time in recent years, partnering each other in the defence just five times since May 2008.
Meanwhile, England have only kept a clean sheet on one of these occasions, which was a 3-0 win over Belarus in a World Cup qualifier almost exactly a year ago.
Montenegro are 10/1 to beat England at Wembley. See the whole England vs Montenegro match betting odds market.