On Tuesday, Terry Venables commences the build-up to the 1996 European Championship finals - which England host - by naming his squad to meet the United States on 7 September. Enticing as the prospect of the German's meeting with Manchester United today is, Venables may choose to make his final assessment at a game featuring more of the players actually available to him.
Remarkably, within the first five days of a new Premiership season every attacking candidate scored, Stan Collymore and Matthew Le Tissier doing so with style that would have graced the World Cup. With Peter Beardsley an early casualty, the England manager's priority will be to decide on a fresh foil for Alan Shearer.
One possibility would be to pair Shearer with his new Blackburn partner, Chris Sutton, though even at pounds 5m the former Norwich man looks a long way from the finished article. Both scored in the midweek win over Leicester, which bodes for a fraught time in a Coventry defence taken for four goals at Newcastle.
A more logical choice by Venables would be the uncapped Andy Cole, a scorer in both Newcastle's games, whose rapier-like thrusts might better complement Shearer's sheer power. Cole today encounters a deeper-lying destroyer, Le Tissier, who unleashed a sumptuous strike to earn Southampton a point at Aston Villa.
Amid all the noise emanating from London N17, the sobering fact for Spurs is that Newcastle are effectively six points clear of them already. Not that St Matt's visit to St James' Park is a foregone conclusion, the Channel Islander having secured victory there in Alan Ball's first match as manager last January.
Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham will also come into the England reckoning, while Nick Barmby, Robbie Fowler, Julian Joachim and QPR's Kevin Gallen offer an enviable range for the Under-21 fixture against Portugal on 6 September. However, for a blend of explosive pace, ferocious shooting and aerial ability to terrify the Americans, Venables should look at Collymore.
The one-time Stafford Ranger has reached the Premiership by the circuitous route of Crystal Palace reserves, Southend and what initially appeared a hyper-inflated pounds 2.3m move to Nottingham Forest. He announced his arrival with an awesome equaliser against Manchester United, and troubled the champions throughout.
A similar display in the derby with Leicester, who leaked six goals in two opening defeats, would make the case for Collymore hard to resist. As United's manager, Alex Ferguson, said: 'Klinsmann can't give us more problems.'
Chelsea's trip to Leeds pairs sides yet to concede a goal, while West Ham and Norwich meet to try and muster their first. Ian Wright is the last of the England hopefuls into the firing line, spearheading Arsenal's challenge at Anfield tomorrow.
In the First Division, Middlesbrough test their 100 per cent start against Bolton, managed by one of Bryan Robson's predecessors, Bruce Rioch. Wolves will have a full house of 28,500 for tomorrow's Black Country spat with West Brom, while Derby return to Millwall, scene of last season's riot.Reuse content