Fabio Capello will blood another goalkeeper against Germany next Wednesday because of concerns that England are over-reliant on David James. The Portsmouth player has started every game so far in the Italian's regime but will be almost 40 when the 2010 World Cup is played.
The England manager may still start the match in Berlin with James but will make a change during the 90 minutes to hand an opportunity to Scott Carson, Paul Robinson or, possibly, Joe Hart, although it is felt that the Manchester City goalkeeper may have to wait a little longer even though he, along with Manchester United's Ben Foster and the injury-prone Chris Kirkland, is admired by Capello.
James has played every minute of Capello's 10-match tenure, apart from the second half of the friendly away to Trinidad & Tobago last June, when he was replaced by Hart. While James is highly-regarded by Capello, the manager also realises he must find a strong back-up candidate. Carson and Robinson have both been rehabilitated since moving clubs in the summer.
Capello will resist wholesale changes to his squad for the Germany game, which is announced tonight, and is determined to hand opportunities to players who he has included in the past but have not featured prominently such as Ashley Young and Glen Johnson. He will also include Michael Carrick and probably promote Gabriel Agbonlahor and David Wheater who have been important members of the Under-21s squad but this time Tom Huddlestone is expected to miss out.
Also likely to be absent is David Beckham, who collected his 107th cap against Belarus last month but is not currently playing competitive matches for LA Galaxy, and Michael Owen.
Milan have cancelled a press conference scheduled for next Thursday, the day after the England friendly in Germany, to announce Beckham's arrival on a two-month loan, which has added to the expectation that the 33-year-old will be overlooked by Capello on this occasion, while Owen's continued failure to prove his fitness at Newcastle United would again appear to count against him. It is understood that Beckham expects to be excluded.
Already due to be absent from the England squad for the first trip to play Germany since the famous 5-1 victory in Munich seven years ago will be Chelsea's Ashley Cole – which could hand an opportunity to Stephen Warnock – and Joe Cole, while injury to Emile Heskey increases the likelihood that Peter Crouch will start.
Andy Johnson or Darren Bent may also be included in the squad, while Germany coach Joachim Löw has, as expected, named an experimental line-up.