Shaun Wright-Phillips became the latest high profile name to pull out of Fabio Capello's England squad for the June World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra yesterday.
The England manager is rapidly losing players with the European Cup and FA Cup finals still to be played as well as tomorrow's final Premier League fixtures.
The Manchester City winger joins David James, Stewart Downing, Aaron Lennon, Ben Foster and Phil Jagielka as players who will miss the end-of-season games, while there must still be a serious doubt over Rio Ferdinand's suitability to play whether he features in Rome or not. Wright-Phillips will have an operation to ''wash-out'' his knee – similar to the procedure that Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz has undergone – in order to be back for the pre-season.
It means that Theo Walcott and David Beckham are the obvious selections for Capello on the right-side of midfield. There is likely to be a vacancy among the centre-halves with Ferdinand to be borderline at best. Capello could stir more controversy and select Tottenham's Ledley King. His defensive partner Jonathan Woodgate is also struggling and yesterday Mark Hughes suggested that Nedum Onuoha deserved a call-up.
''I hope Nedum gets the call,'' said the Manchester City manager. ''He has really come on this season. He has always been viewed as a kid with huge potential. As an athlete he had the tools to be a top-rate player.
"If he did get in the full England squad it wouldn't faze him. He is a very level-headed guy.''