Fabio Capello is ready to pick John Terry in the England squad announced tomorrow unless there are major objections from the Football Association and provided the police have still not concluded their investigation into allegations of racial abuse by the player.
With the FA getting closer to the deadline tomorrow at 8pm when Capello must name his England squad for the friendlies against Spain and Sweden this month, and still no decision from the Metropolitan Police on whether to press charges, it is beginning to look like a judgement call is necessary from the FA.
While Capello will consult with a group of four from the FA – chairman David Bernstein as well as Sir Trevor Brooking (director of football development), Alex Horne (general secretary) and Adrian Bevington (Club England managing director) – the England manager is minded to pick Terry.
While there are no charges against the player, Capello is of the belief he should carry on with his captain. He accepts that there will be a lot of scrutiny of the England captain, but he is mindful of Terry being innocent until proven guilty and does not want to compromise the player.
The Capello camp is still 50-50 as to whether to pick Rio Ferdinand, who was left out the last squad. The Manchester United defender has not been helped by his manager Sir Alex Ferguson's recent assessment that the player has lost some of his pace and has to adapt. It was a long-held suspicion of Capello's that this was the case and confirmation of it from Ferguson has only increased his doubts.
Having Terry in the same squad as Ferdinand would also present problems for the England manager. It was Ferdinand's brother Anton, the Queen's Park Rangers defender, whom Terry is alleged to have racially abused during Chelsea's game at Loftus Road two weeks ago.
Capello is also looking at his options in the rest of the squad. He is considering a call-up for Jack Rodwell, the Everton midfielder, because of injuries to Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere, Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley.
Everton's manager, David Moyes, said yesterday Rodwell, 20, was ready for the senior England team on the basis of recent performances. Moyes said: "A senior call-up can come too early. You want him to go into the team. If he played he wouldn't let anyone down because in international football he has some very good qualities.
"Jack has done well. He has improved over the recent weeks and I think because of that he is getting close [to a call-up].
"I don't know how many call-offs England might have this weekend – I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot – but that might bring Jack forward if that is the case. He has started to just find his feet here. He's beginning to look more composed and competent in the team and at the moment we are happy with the way he is going.
"Is he ready for the big full-international stage? That is something we will all need to wait and see."
The QPR owner, Tony Fernandes, whose club asked the FA to investigate the incident with Anton Ferdinand, said yesterday that Terry should be named in tomorrow's England squad. He said: "I think innocent until proven guilty. There's been no hard evidence either way of John's alleged statements. If he's the right man for the job, then he should be selected as captain."