Fabio Capello's provisional 30-man squad was ultimately a much easier exercise in decision-making than most people anticipated.
Unlike Brazil coach Dunga, who left out Ronaldinho and Diego, Capello did not have the same luxury of leaving out high-profile players. Jamie Carragher was England's only surprise selection.
Ironically, it was Ledley King who kept the Liverpool defender out of the side under Steve McClaren's reign, which ultimately led him to international retirement. Now Capello has picked the Spurs captain, whose chronic knee injury could mean that his participation in South Africa is potentially limited, and asked Carragher to cover both the right-back and in the middle of defence.
Carragher is almost certainly on the plane to South Africa. It is hard to imagine Capello would pull a player out of international retirement just to take him to a training camp and select him in two friendlies.
Capello also seems to have over-compensated at left-back in his 30. Ashley Cole will start at the Finals, and with neither Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines capable of playing in the central role, one or both of them will be culled from the 23.
The Italian has also selected a plethora of wingers. England's left midfield is reserved for Steven Gerrard, which leaves Joe Cole, Adam Johnson, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips to fight for a start berth on the opposite flank.
Capello has given no indication he will move Gerrard back into central midfield. The injury to Gareth Barry may yet force the Liverpool captain inside to his natural role, but Michael Carrick, Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker have all been picked to cover than eventuality.
The fight up front is between Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe. While the Sunderland striker has scored more Premier League goals than his Spurs counterpart, it is still not clear which one Capello will leave behind. Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch and Wayne Rooney have no such worries.
The pressure is now on the players to deliver in the two friendlies against Mexico and Japan. For the likes of Bent, Baines, Warnock, Walcott, Cole, Wright-Phillips and Johnson, everything is to play for.
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