ASTON Villa's Stephen Warnock could be a surprise inclusion when Fabio Capello names his England World Cup squad later today.
Warnock had been rated as extremely doubtful to be on the plane to South Africa after failing to take any part in the two recent warm-up games against Mexico and Japan.
With only six minutes' international experience - as a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago in 2008 - Warnock currently has the shortest England career on record and did not seem likely to increase that tally in South Africa given Leighton Baines featured against Mexico and in the friendly against Egypt in March.
Taken at face value, Capello's post-Japan statement that the 22 names - excluding Gareth Barry - in his mind are the same as the ones that were there before the two-week training camp in Austria, Baines should be in.
However, it seems Capello has concerns over the Everton defender's ability to cope with the demands of a major tournament, which could lead to an unexpected reprieve for Warnock as Capello mulls over the make-up of his squad.
Capello will get an update on Barry's recovery from an ankle injury before making his final decision.
The England coach has already said he would only be willing to hand the Manchester City man one of his coveted 23 slots if he was sure Barry could play a full part in training immediately after the Group C opener against the United States on June 12.
Reports on the ankle injury he suffered against Tottenham on May 5 have been positive though and it seems certain Barry will be involved.
Once the medical bulletin is received, Capello will then make the seven most difficult telephone calls of his life this morning - knowing he must administer the bitter pill of rejection at the same time.
For some, such as Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone - who would almost certainly be heading for South Africa if Barry failed to make it, and, probably, Adam Johnson, the pain can be eased with the knowledge their time will eventually come.
Others; Scott Parker and Darren Bent for instance, will know it possibly never will.
"I have told them all they are the best English players and that is why they were here," said Capello.
"They have all trained very well and stayed focused throughout. But I am disappointed because I have to choose 23 players."