Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand is the latest England player to have his fitness for this summer's European Championship put in doubt, which could lead to a reprieve for another former captain, Chelsea's John Terry.
Questions had been asked about whether Ferdinand could happily share a dressing-room with Terry, who will appear in court in July to face accusations of making a racist remark tothe United defender's younger brother Anton.
Any doubts that the new England manager, Roy Hodgson, had about taking both men to Euro 2012 may have been resolved in Terry's favour yesterday when Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: "You play something like a game every four days. Rio Ferdinand couldn't do that."
Injury and a lack of match fitness meant that despite having 81 caps, Ferdinand has not played in any of the six internationals played this season. He is expected to play in the final Premier League game of the season at Sunderland today, but a possible England deputy, Chris Smalling, will not do so and has already been ruled out of the tournament by United.
Hodgson is due to name his squad of 23 on Wednesday, then take them to a training camp in Spain next week ahead of the first of two warm-up matches, against Norway on Saturday week.
Before finalising the list, he must check on players such as Chelsea's Gary Cahill, Tottenham's Scott Parker, United's Danny Welbeck and Aston Villa's Darren Bent, none of whom are fit enough to play this afternoon.
As well as Smalling, England have already ruled out Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and will be without Wayne Rooney for the opening two matches of the tournament.Reuse content