England manager Fabio Capello is confident it will not be long before Andy Carroll is firing on all cylinders again.
His opening two caps last season brought an eye-catching debut against France in November before the 21-year-old bagged his first international goal to give England the lead against Ghana four months later. But Carroll did not even merit a place amongst the substitutes for the 3-0 win over Bulgaria.
Carroll has even lost his place in Liverpool's starting line-up, despite that hefty £35million price-tag. Capello said: "Andy Carroll needs to find good form. In Bulgaria, I decided the first XI from players who I felt were in the best form. Andy didn't play with last game with Liverpool. He is not at the top of his game. But he is big. He needs to play games."
Capello also spoke about the omissions of Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe. He continued: "These players, like Lampard and Andy Carroll, will be important when they are in top form.
"Defoe is not at the top either. I spoke with him. He only played one 90 minutes. He needs to play. Now they have games; Champions League, national team, Carling Cup, the other games. I hope they will be fit in a really short time."
Few, if any, changes are envisaged to Capello's starting line-up for Tuesday's Wembley encounter with Wales, which should present few problems, especially now Craig Bellamy is suspended.
The game is not yet sold out despite the apparent attractiveness of an all-British clash. Tickets will be available up to kick-off, with 75,000 so far sold and the Welsh FA not taking up their full allocation.
England could even lose the game and still advance to Euro 2012 if they claim a score draw from their trip to Montenegro on October 7.