Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry could feature for England in their World Cup opener against the USA, which kicks off today at 7.30pm.
Barry has been struggling with an ankle injury for over a month, and although he is back to full fitness, Fabio Capello has confirmed that Barry will not start.
James Milner, meanwhile, has recovered from a virus and the Aston Villa player could also make an appearance from the bench.
The competition for places in midfield is fierce, and while captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard’s places are assured, there is less certainty concerning the other two positions.
Joe Cole is thought to have done enough to earn a starting role, and the out-of-contract Chelsea playmaker is 10/1 to open the scoring against the USA.
The most unpredictable position is the right wing, and there are rumours emerging from the England camp that Shaun Wright-Phillips may dislodge Aaron Lennon.
Capello has already decided on his starting XI, but the Italian won’t tell his players until two hours before kick-off.
The midfield battle will be crucial in this fixture, and as well as nullifying the USA’s threats of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, Gerrard and Lampard will be expected to break forward.