Capello set to make final cut
Fabio Capello is preparing to make the seven most difficult telephone calls of his life this morning - knowing he must administer the bitter pill of rejection at the same time.
For some, such as Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and, probably, Adam Johnson, the pain can be eased with the knowledge their time will eventually come. Others, Scott Parker and Darren Bent for instance, will know it possibly never will.
"I have told them all they are the best English players and that is why they were here," said Capello. "They have all trained very well and stayed focused throughout. But I am disappointed because I have to choose 23 players."
With that task completed - and an update on Gareth Barry's recovery from an ankle injury will have been received before Capello sets to work - and when lingering doubts over the Italian's desire to remain until Euro 2012 are removed, England's coach can train his thoughts on the World Cup, and the Group C opener against the United States on June 12.
Already there is a conundrum to solve. Barry's ankle injury may have eased sufficiently for him to get to South Africa but almost certainly not to feature in the crucial first game.
In his absence, twice in the past week, against Mexico and Japan, England have been in trouble until Steven Gerrard was switched into central midfield and on both occasions, the improvement has been instant.
Now Capello must decide whether to pair Gerrard with Frank Lampard, having spent two and a half years constructing a side by avoiding uniting England's best two attacking midfielders who, under Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren, consistently gave the impression they could not get the maximum out of each other by operating in tandem.
"I know the history," Capello said with a smile.
"This is a big question for you always? Can't play together?
"Probably both were too young. That was a joke. I hope that they can play together. I have to decide whether to try."
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