Beckham was in line to make it to his fourth finals because of his vast experience and ability to deliver a perfect ball.
With Aaron Lennon also a doubt to make the finals, we assess the candidates to play on the right-hand side for England in South Africa.
Agony: David Beckham is set to miss out on the World Cup
His pace has never been in question, only his decision-making and final ball. Made telling contributions recently in the dramatic win over Hull and victory over Burnley.
Spent the first 18 months of his Aston Villa career on the right side of midfield before moving into his current role in the middle. Versatile and adaptable.
Versatile: James Milner has been in superb form for Villa this season
He can be tricky and quick but it has been an indifferent season for one of Manchester City's favourite sons, who was substituted at Sunderland on Sunday.
Has the ability to switch flanks and there are signs he is maturing at Aston Villa under the guiding hand of Martin O'Neill. Faces a crucial last few weeks of the season.
Would bring good experience to the England squad but has failed to nail down a regular place in the Chelsea side following a 10-month absence with a knee injury.
Possible replacement: Joe Cole scoring for England against Andorra in 2008
Like his Villa team-mate Young, Downing has the ability to switch wings and deliver a good ball. Making steady progress after being sidelined with a broken foot.
The England Under-21 player is a good outside bet and his first goal for Manchester City at Sunderland, following a summer switch from Middlesbrough, was outstanding.
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