The fallout from England's 3-1 friendly victory over Egypt continues, with journalists left, right and centre busily trying to predict who Fabio Capello will be selecting to join him on the plane to South Africa.
Oliver Kay at the Times breaks down how England look in each position and comes to the conclusion that competition for places is going to be fierce between now and the end of the season.
"In 1998 it was an hotel room in La Manga, where Glenn Hoddle, in his infinite wisdom, had decided that the “soothing” strains of Kenny G would ease the pain for those players whose World Cup dreams he was about to bring to an abrupt end.
Somehow you sense it will be different with Fabio Capello. Smooth jazz, whatever that might be, is not the Italian’s style. When the time comes to deliver his judgment on June 1, when he names his 23-man England squad for the World Cup a mere 24 hours before departing for South Africa, it will be matter-of-fact. No sugar-coated apologies, no sensitive lighting and certainly no Kenny G, which, in 1998, proved the soundtrack for an inconsolable Paul Gascoigne screaming and thrashing at a table lamp after he got the bad news.
The 3-1 win over Egypt at Wembley on Wednesday was England’s final warm-up match before Capello names a provisional squad of approximately 28 players on May 16, the day after the FA Cup Final. On May 17 those 28 players — minus any who might be involved in the Champions League final — will travel to Austria for a training camp at high altitude near Irdning before returning to Wembley for a match against Mexico, date to be confirmed, and from there back out to Austria, where they will play against Japan in Graz on May 30 before the final squad is announced."
Staying with the national team, Matt Lawton at the Mail examines the fall from grace of Joe Cole, after two years of injury hell appear to have cost the tricky playmaker a place in Capello's 2010 World Cup squad.
"So confident was Joe Cole of earning a place in England's squad at the last European Championship, he offered Tal Ben Haim a family holiday to 'anywhere in the world' if Israel could assist Steve McClaren's stuttering side by beating Russia. It proved a pointless exercise.
McClaren blew it anyway. But two-and-a-half years on and Cole's position in the England set-up is nothing like as secure. It amounts to a depressing decline for a player Wayne Rooney considers superior even to himself when it comes to pure skill. For Rooney, Cole is the closest thing England have to the archetypal Brazilian and someone, if fit, who should be in South Africa this summer.
The problem, however, is convincing an England manager who has already proved with Michael Owen that past glories count for nothing. Last week Fabio Capello declared Cole is 'not the player I remember' and it is now up to the 28-year-old to serve a timely reminder.
Cole has had a tough time, not least because of the cruciate ligament injury that put him on the sidelines for the best part of 2009. His last England appearance was memorable only for the challenge from Robert Kovac that knocked him out cold in Zagreb - in September 2008. His efforts to return to the form he once produced with admirable consistency have been hindered by the reluctance of another Italian coach."