Last chance saloon for England hopefuls

Last chance saloon for England hopefuls

Published May. 9, 2010 1:47 p.m. ET

Fabio Capello will be at Stamford Bridge today as Joe Cole faces one last audition before finding out whether he is World Cup bound.

Capello is due to name his 30-man provisional squad on Tuesday, giving potential candidates a final shot at impressing the Italian before he sits down to prepare his list.

As former skipper John Terry, who will lift the Premier League trophy if Chelsea beat Wigan, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are automatic choices, Joe Cole is clearly the man with most to prove, having missed out on selection for the most recent international, against Egypt in March.

Capello's trusted assistant Franco Baldini will be across London at West Ham, who face Manchester City.

Arguably, this is an even more pivotal fixture, with a number of fringe candidates, including Carlton Cole, Scott Parker, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson on show, in addition to Robert Green and Matthew Upson, who have already booked their flights to South Africa.

Baldini will also be able to check on the fitness of Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry, who suffered ankle ligament damage against Tottenham in midweek, and is sweating on his availability.

England team doctor Ian Beasley has already assessed the fitness of Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves at Manchester United, with the information passed on to Capello, who is approaching his own date with destiny.

Numerous letters to players highlighting the possibility of selection have been issued, including one to Bobby Zamora, whose appearance in the Europa League final for Fulham against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday will come too late to influence Capello's selection.

It means even players holding a cherished letter can be certain of nothing at this stage, with Capello adamant he will select on form alone.